Sailing the San Juan Islands – Day 6

-By Kimberly

Thursday, June 1, 217 – Langley to Bowman Bay

Pancakes and eggs for breakfast!  I was at the anchor using hand signals to communicate with Eric while we hoisted it.  We headed north, motoring through Saratoga Pass.  I ordered the sails raised as soon as I spotted wind, and we had another good sail that lasted about 30 minutes before it was back to motoring.

Norma H pulling a barge with a tractor on it.
Jet flying over on the way to the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island.
Norma H passing a small tug that is pulling a raft of logs.
Watching the traffic go by.

As we entered Skagit Bay we noticed a tug pulling a barge behind us, and a small tug towing a float of logs in front of us.  At this time we were in a narrow part of the intersection of Saratoga Pass & Swinomish Channel.


We tried to hail the large tug (Norma H) on the VHF but got no response and they just kept getting closer! Suddenly a couple of Navy jet fighters zoomed over our heads, so close that we couldn’t help but say, “WOW!”.


Norma H eventually contacted us over the VHF, asking us to chat on channel 13.  They wanted to know what we were doing -specifically if we were just “hanging out”, which made us giggle.  We let them know that we would stay to the Port while he took our Starboard side and stayed to the port side of the smaller tug.  Who knew that traffic could be so exciting!




Our first glimpse of Deception Pass.
A view of Cornet Bay.
Navigating our way through Deception Pass.

We passed Hope Island and were planning to stop in Cornet Bay, but the tide was so low that we weren’t sure Alethea would make it to the anchorage.  Instead, we decided to make our way through Deception Pass.

I was at the helm as we went in circles while lowering the main, and then as we navigated the pass.  It was challenging, as it is narrow, shallow, and has strong currents ready to smash boats against the rocks.  I was taking deep breaths and rolling my shoulders to relax my nerves!  Before we knew it, we had passed under the bridge and were out into more open water again.  I got us through Deception pass without any issues, and it was great!  We circled around the point and set anchor in Bowman Bay.





Deception Pass Bridge.
Our first time going under a bridge on a sailboat!
We made it safely to the other side.
Rocky dinghy landing.













Bowman Bay had a dinghy dock we didn’t know about.
Alethea at anchor in Bowman Bay.

We took the raft ashore, wishing we had better shoes for the rocky landing.  Once we secured the dinghy, we hiked to the top of Deception Pass Bridge so that we could take pictures of the channel we had just navigated.  The highlight of our hike was seeing two bald eagles soaring through the sky and landing in the trees.  So beautiful! On our way back, we hiked to lighthouse point where I took pictures of survey monuments for my dad.  Back on the boat we had surf and turf for dinner – steak and salmon with sweet potato fries!!  We had a couple good games of black jack and poker before letting the boat rock us to sleep again.















Top of the bridge.
Top of the bridge.

Bald Eagles.
Bald Eagle in flight.
Survey Monument 1.
Eric found the survey marker!

Survey monument 2.



Getting ready to play cards!

Purple Track = Approximate Route – Day 6.

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