Mariners on Sucia Island

Friday Harbor   Roche Harbor   Rosario Resort   Sucia Island   Fairhaven

Cruising the San Juan Islands

On Thursday, September 12, at around 7:20 a.m., twenty Mature Friends boarded the Amtrak train at the newly renovated King Street Train Depot. After a pleasant morning ride up to Bellingham and a little bit of a mix-up, our crew showed up to escort us to our exclusive 60-foot charter boat the Viking Star.

Only a short walk from the train depot, we hoofed it and clamored aboard while the crew wrestled with our luggage. Some of us brought a steamer trunk for the three-day cruise, expecting perhaps a cotillion ball.

Awaiting us on board, crew member and naturalist Victoria bought out pots of coffee to our tables, a much appreciated opening gesture. Our crew consisted of Captain Dale, naturalist Victoria, and crewman Torque.

Captain Dale

Captain Dale Welcomes Us Aboard!

Cast Off!

After setting sail, we cruised southwest into the San Juan archipelago. The morning fog grew thicker farther out on the Salish Sea. To get to where we were going, Captain Dale had to cut through a fog bank. Lucky for us, the modern technology of radar and loud blasts of the boat's fog horn cleared the way. Seeing too far ahead became impossible as the fog obstructed visibility. Once through the thick of the fog bank, we saw some stunning sights as patches of remaining fog crept over islands like something out of the movie The Ten Commandments. The effect was beautiful and spooky.

As the morning approached noon, the fog lifted for the most part. By then we'd had our fill of coffee and got ready to move around the boat, even heading outside on deck into the fresh air and sea breezes. Some of us couldn't resist tempting fate by playing King of the World. Luckily, this ship didnít sink.

After sailing through a thick fog bank, we slowed down as we passed a small island populated by two different species of king fishers and a lot of seagulls. Next we sailed past a tree-encrusted island upon which some guy wanted to build a house. He built the pier you see in the picture of his island, and that's as far as he got. Why? An eagle's nest on the island prevented any further building because the island was too small for a house to sit far enough away to satisfy distance requirements. So the island remains uninhabited by human beings.

From there, we cruised around various islands including the Burrows Island lighthouse, as well as other points of interest such as Iceberg Point, Deadman's Island, and Cattle Pass. By noon, the crew had set out a sumptuous lunch for us, which included a free glass of wine for everyone. All during the voyage, the captain would periodically tell us tidbits of the islands' history and geology. One island we passed was bare on one side and forested on the other. The reason is that a glacier had plowed up the fertile soil on one side and pushed it onto the other side 10,000 plus years ago.

Before the end of the first day, I found Bob McQ on deck with Victoria, one of the crew members, both taking in the fresh air and warm afternoon breezes.

Return to Top