San Juan Sailing Day 1 -Anacortes to Clark Island

After months of planning and preparation (and worrying), we arrived at the Anacortes Yacht Charter office at 9AM, on  Saturday September 17th, 2016 to start our first bareboat sailing charter. We first checked in with Susan and was told the plan was for us to watch a 25 minute introductory video before the chart and systems briefings began. The other people who were supposed to be there at 9 hadn’t shown up yet, so we hung out for a while in the lounge. At 9:30 when they still hadn’t shown up, we started the video without them. Not much info in the video but we sat through it and by 10AM we were done with it and headed towards Foxy Freda, the Beneteau 32.2 that was to be our home for the next week. It was raining so we put on our waterproof clothes, loaded all our gear and provisions into a cart and walked down to the boat.
Our delivery captain, Terry, was there to meet us. He had gone down to the boat early to make sure everything worked and to turn on the heater for us. The boat had two heaters, a space heater that worked on AC power and a diesel heater that we could use when not on shore power. Very useful items for our trip since it got cold at night. Terry briefed us on all the systems and made some recommendations on our itinerary. He has a lot of experience sailing in the San Juans and gave us some great advice on where to stay. The briefings were finished by 12:30PM and the rain had stopped, but the winds were still 20 knots so we decided to have lunch and see if the winds would die down a little.  We walked down to a restaurant a few blocks from the marina, called Greek Islands, and had lunch. This also gave AYC a chance to run to West Marine and pick up a toilet seat because the one on Foxy Freda was broken.
By 2:30PM the winds had died down so Terry had us take Foxy out of the Anacortes marina and back in to make sure we knew how to handle the boat.  The fairways at the Anacortes Marina are very narrow and the marina is not well protected from winds and currents.  This made for a dicey exit and reentry from/to the slip!  Overall, the checkout went well and we were underway by 3PM headed for Sucia Island; our goal was to make it to Fossil bay and moor there for the night.
We made good time (mostly motor-sailing), but at 6:30 we started to get worried that we wouldn’t make Fossil Bay by nightfall. The only other place we saw to anchor nearby was Clark Island. Our guidebook told us that Clark island didn’t offer much shelter, but we decided we’d prefer a rough night at a mooring ball to trying to find Fossil Bay after dark.
Lesson for next time is to plan a shorter distance for the first day or at least have a better backup plan in place in case something’s broken on the boat, weather is bad, or the briefing takes longer than expected.
We made it to Clark Island State Park at 7:00 pm with plenty of daylight left for us to grab a mooring ball. We were the only boat there and we snapped a quick pic before the sun went down. The area really is beautiful.
For dinner we tried out the propane stove and made chorizo tacos and then went to bed by 9. The guidebook was right.  We felt quite a few wakes from ships passing by in the Rosario Strait and the boat really did roll a lot. We slept pretty well in spite of that.
Morning picture of Clark Island out of the aft cabin’s window:
We decided not to try out our dinghy skills and go ashore on Clark Island but to head directly to Stuart Island instead, but that’s the subject of another post.

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