Trip Recap. San Juan Islands bare boat charter ( long )

Discussion in 'West Coast' started by FootballFan, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    First let give a shout out and big THANK YOU to those who provided input for our trip. Definitely enhanced the planning and the trip.

    Got back this week from our Friday to Friday bare boat cruise in the San Juan Islands. You guys in the Pacific NW have a truly awesome cruising ground.

    We visited Roche Harbor, Port of Friday Harbor, Rosario, and Victoria (not in that order). We cleared customs into Canada in Victoria Harbor. Back into the US at Roche Harbor. US return was more involved. Canada was just checking in on the phone at the customs dock. Both were easy and not at all complicated.

    Water was calm all week. Some 2-3 swells crossing over to Victoria, but around the islands was like being on a lake. Deep water, rarely under 80-90 feet (just when headed into marina), most of the time 200-300 ft. Channel on the west side of San Juan Island was 800-1000.

    Scenery was spectacular. There is something special being on the water and seeing snow covered mountains around you. Hard to describe.

    We could not have designed better weather. This was our “escape from the Texas heat” trip, and it truly was an escape. High’s in the 70’s during the day. Not sure about the low temps – but it was so nice.

    Majority of the time we ran the boat from the lower helm. Most of the time we went to the fly bridge we put our slickers on. Fly bridge did not have any Eisenglass - which was fine with me. I learned that if it was not comfortable on the Fly Bridge, then we just popped back downstairs to the lower helm. Guessing we ran from the lower helm 80% of the time. Admiral commented the lower helm was like cruising from your living room – I guess it actually was.

    Everyone loves pictures so including a few. After all as I have heard here – no pic’s – it didn’t happen…

    Thought this was a cool pic. Fairly open water, this is not a channel – but the current that this moving during a tide change. You could feel and see a 1-2 knot SOG depending on the tide status and direction.

    [​IMG]

    Coming out of Port of Friday Harbor. Common sight, seaplane going out – ferry coming in. Pic taken out of the side door by the helm.

    [​IMG]

    Much of the trip we saw snowcapped mountains. This is Baker, 12,000 ft.

    [​IMG]

    Rosario. The boat we were on is the one in the center of the picture.

    [​IMG]

    Victoria, BC. Docked in front of the Empress Hotel.

    [​IMG]

    Chasing Orca’s. We found two pods. Was not superior nature knowledge. Saw the whale watching tour boats go by. Followed them on AIES till they stopped and stayed in one place, then joined them. Both pods were up next to shore, channel there is 1,000 ft deep. We were within a ½ mile of shore, whales were coming up between us and the shore.

    [​IMG]

    Had to include this, loved the gunnels on this boat.
    [​IMG]

    Recap of general observations.

    If you have never cruised in the area – you should consider finding a way to experience it.

    Very similar to Maine, the area from Penobscot Bay east. Yet different in a good unique way (snowcapped mountains).

    Lots of seaplanes. More than I have ever seen. Some of the marinas have dedicated docks just for the coming and going of the planes. In Friday harbor sit for an hour – you will see a dozen sea plans land, change out passengers and take off.

    Docking was different than what I have experienced on the East coast. On this trip was always a side tie. Even when we had a slip, turns out the slip would hold multiple boats. Tie was on one side only and there would be boats in front and back of you. At Roche Harbor we were at the front of the slip. Boat behind us decided to stay over, so they had to untie and let us out the morning we were leaving. They try to group boats by same day departure, but then people change their minds.

    Vast majority of boats are Bow in. When you think about how the slips are – makes sense. We went into Roche harbor, I really preferred Starboard tie (had a door off the lower helm on the starboard side. Got to the slip, going in bow first would have meant port tie. I backed in stern first so I would have the starboard tie – lots of funny looks from my dock mates when I did that.

    For the area and time we experienced only saw a small handful of Sea Rays. Maybe 1 or 2 fly bridges, 5-6 Dancers. Saw more Bayliners’ and Meridians than anything else. Tugs and trawlers were all over, lots of sail boats.

    People we met were great. Super friendly, welcoming.

    We chartered our boat from NW Explorations in Bellingham. We have done a significant amount of charters over the years – guessing we have dealt with 7-8 charter companies, some we returned multiple times for 2-3 years in a row. This company has its act together. Was very impressed through the entire process from initial setup through turn in and close out. Of all the charter companies we have dealt with, these guys were head and shoulder above anyone we have ever dealt with. I highly recommend them if you ever consider a bare boat in the PCNW. They are expensive compared to other charter trips we have taken in Maine and Chesapeake– but definitely worth the premium price. We were on a 2007 boat – was very pleased with the prep, condition, and equipment of the boat.

    Would we go back? – yeah it will happen. I am still an East Coast boater but the summers are glorious there. NW Explorations runs a flotilla from Bellingham up to Alaska every year. We are planning on doing that trip either next summer or the summer after. Depends on how the timing of the boat buying process for our next boat turns out.

    Wouldn’t that be fun – if we had a group of Club Sea Ray boaters fill up a flotilla to Alaska.

    Fire away any questions. If they are about our trip - happy to answer and clarify. If they are about the area in general, several PCNW boaters on here that have more experience and knowledge of the area than I will ever have, hopefully they will chime in with answers.

    Thanks for making it through the long read,

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
  2. mquiet

    mquiet Member

    966
    Aug 4, 2009
    North carolina
    1999 480 Sedan Bridge
    Caterpillar 3196
    Mark, Thanks for the recap and it sounds like y'all had a wonderful trip. We hope to you and your wife again soon in the Carolinas.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  3. villain style

    villain style Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Mears Point Marina Kent Island, MD
    2006 340 Sundancer
    Merc 8.1L's V-Drives
    Sounds awesome. Thanks for the detail experience. Felt like I went along with you..
     
  4. HUMPH

    HUMPH Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2009
    SF BAY AREA
    2003 410DA,
    2004 C14 Caribe
    CAT 3126TA's 350HP/
    50HP Honda
    We had a number of SRBCNC members make that trip some years back. I was not involved yet but all said it was fantastic! They rented 3 boats, each carried 2 couples so it kept the cost down quite a bit. I would love to do this at some point as well. Thanks for sharing the experience.
     
  5. rondds

    rondds Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 3, 2006
    Jersey Shore
    2001 380DA
    Merc 8.1s (2008)...Hurth ZF 63 V-drives...WB 7.0 BCGD (2013), Garmin 8208 & 740 MFDs, GMR 24xHD dome
    Mark
    Maybe I missed it in your narrative...what boat did you charter?

    Looks fantastic. Just was speaking with a friend who went out there (Seattle, San Juan's) for the first time. He had never been there and was impressed beyond belief with the magnificence of that area. His trip was by airplane, ferry and automobile.

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  6. Bob & Sue

    Bob & Sue Active Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Browns Point Tacoma WA
    Sold 1999 270DA Sundancer
    5.7l Mercuiser
    Great pics glad you were able to make it up here. You only touched a small portion of the waters to boat in, the float plan you setup was a great use of time. We're just getting ready to leave on a day trip to see if we can spot a Fin Whale they've been in Elliott Bay moving south, they were thought to be almost extinct these are the first two seen here since 1940 2nd largest whale on earth.

    There are a lot of Bayliners up here they were built here until Brunswick bought them, lot of Sea Rays also depending on the area your in.

    You hit the weather at a perfect time. We always tell folks not to come up it's raining stay away.

    Today's weather 84* , 3-5 knot winds, wind waves less than a foot.
     
  7. wyrman

    wyrman Member SILVER Sponsor

    769
    Jul 12, 2012
    Tri-Cities, Wa
    2007 310 Sundancer
    Twin 350's, V drives
    Glad you had a great trip. We'll be going next Friday for a week.
     
  8. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    We can't wait to get back north along the coast once we get another boat. Big factor in the next boat for us is one that works well for long distance cruising, admiral has said she doesn't want to be on a boat during the summertime in s Florida. That will send us right through your backyard couple times a year.
     
  9. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60

    Ron,

    The boat was a 2007 Grand Banks Europa 47. It's one of the GB hulls that will get up on plane. Slow to climb up, I had it up to 17 knots a couple of times. That was 3-400 rpm below cruise speed. Cummins QSC's. Looks like a trawler, but runs nice.

    Overall after being on it for a week I understand better why GB's carry a hefty price tag. Good boat.

    Mark
     
  10. The Bill Collector

    The Bill Collector Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    450 Sundancer
    3126 Cat's
    Sounds like a great trip....

    We are truly blessed in the PNW. We have Puget Sound, inside passage practically all the way to Alaska, skiing in the winter is a hour away, eastern Washington is 2 hours away and it's desert. I would not live elsewhere....
     
  11. La Maddalena

    La Maddalena New Member

    266
    Dec 16, 2009
    Seattle
    2004 420 Sundancer w blue hull and hardtop
    twin Cummins 6CTA 8.3 M3 and ZH Hurth V drives
    Thanks for the recap and the photos. I recognize the Sea Ray (Current Sea) in the Victoria Harbor photo - they're from our marina. If you would have been at Roche Harbor from July 14 to 17 you would have seen lot of Sea Rays there for the annual LUSR Rendezvous, including ours and Lina Lina. We saw orcas when we arrived.
     
  12. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    Mark, I'm glad you enjoyed your journey to the magnificent PNW. I've chartered up in the San Juans twice and taken my 330 Dancer up there once on a 2-week trip. Loved every minute of it, even when it was pouring down rain.

    I took the photo of your GB into Word so I could enlarge it. I got it up to 500% to see what the large object on the bow was. I can't make it out well enough to tell. Is it a dinghy?

    We've been to all of the places you mentioned and IMHO you hit the highlights of the SJ's. I'm betting we'll see you back up here for a return cruise.
     
  13. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Will try to find a pic of the forward portion of the boat for you. There is nothing on the bow of the boat, the Dinghy is stored on the back of the fly bridge. Thinking what you may be seeing is the center portion of the bow. One of the pics shows the gunnels down the starboard side, notice the sidewall on the outer side. Effectively a 2 ft wall plus rail outer wall from where you walk. That side wall wraps all the way around the boat, forward drops a little bit lower as you wrap around. There is a molded seat in front as the center portion of the boat maintains an expected height.

    This is an interesting feature shared by other boat brands - one that we really love. Fleming is very similar.

    Yep, that's a good bet - I think we will be back,

    Mark
     
  14. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Not the same exact boat, just saw this on the website and it illustrates the point. This is the photo gallery for a newer boat that has the same deck layout. You can see the wrap around gunnels with the molded in seat in the front. I think that was what you were seeing in the picture that you were zooming in on.

    https://www.grandbanks.com/yachts/heritage/54eu/gallery.cfm

    Mark
     
  15. Bob & Sue

    Bob & Sue Active Member

    Jun 3, 2011
    Browns Point Tacoma WA
    Sold 1999 270DA Sundancer
    5.7l Mercuiser
    I have a friend with a 1997 49' GB Classic similar to this one, they have a great layout and great for cruising.
    http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/199...26/Sturgeon-bay/WI/United-States#.V6SnuLgrLIU

    We went out yesterday looking for the Fin Whale no luck.

    These photos were about 90 NM south of Friday Harbor, water was like glass till a 15 kt wind came up felt good it was 89*

    Looking west towards Gig Harbor

    [​IMG]

    Looking north towards Seattle 20 NM away

    [​IMG]
     
  16. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    This boat was different than the GB Classic.
     
  17. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    GB Europa.jpg
    Here's what I was looking at. It has a trapezoidal shape on this end and looks like something lying across the bow deck.

    It even casts a shadow along the hull, that's what made me think it was something lying on the bow.
     
  18. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    I am stymied. I see trapezoidal shape you are referring to.

    I am including p pic of the actual boat - showing a side view. In this picture in this link, looks like there is something going on the bow towards the anchor windlass. I had to look really close, its actually just the background behind.

    The bow section does have an angled shape that doesn't follow the gunnels up - maybe that is what is causing the distortion.

    NWE_PDP_Eldean1_LgSliderImage_820x450px-1.jpg
     
  19. La Maddalena

    La Maddalena New Member

    266
    Dec 16, 2009
    Seattle
    2004 420 Sundancer w blue hull and hardtop
    twin Cummins 6CTA 8.3 M3 and ZH Hurth V drives
    It looks like a kayak laying on its side just above the gunwale and behind the rail.
     
  20. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Yeah, it looks strange, I see the shape in the photo - but it just must be the angle, lighting, etc. I took the photo about an hour after we left the boat. Wasn't anything on the bow.. We left the fenders out cause some friends said they might show up.

    Who know's...
     

Share This Page

Show Sidebar