Tag Archives: 5 Favorites

5 Favorites: Cruising Towns

This is the sixth in our ongoing series called “5 Favorites” in which we’ll explore a range of topics including memorable anchorages, marina showers, cruise-in breweries, parks of the Gulf Islands, the joys of winter cruising, fun things to do, meals to make aboard and much more. The aim is not to make a list of “bests” or to rank things, but rather to provide an entertaining and insightful look at what we’ve enjoyed while cruising the Pacific Northwest. And since every boater has their favorites, we invite you to share yours in the comments below. 

Fuel, water, provisions, a trip to the chandlery, showers and laundry, and the proposition of a hot meal cooked by someone else are some of the many things that boaters look for when stopping during a cruise. Most experienced Pacific Northwest mariners have their favorite marinas and ports of call along the way, and whether they’re utilitarian, charming or both, one of the great things that makes cruising the Salish Sea so special is the immense amount of quality stops we can make. Just like all my 5 Favorites articles, my top five cruising towns were difficult to narrow down. But here goes…

FRIDAY HARBOR 

In a way, San Juan Island’s Friday Harbor has turned into a home base for us while cruising the San Juans over the past three winters. For cruisers who are paying a quicker visit, though, there is U.S. Customs & Immigration, ferry and floatplane service to drop and pickup guests, ample room to anchor, a welcoming marina operated by the port, two grocery stores for provisions, boating services, a fuel dock, a small chandlery, a hardware store and more. Friday Harbor also houses several great restaurants and bars on or near Spring Street, a welcoming library, numerous specialty shops and is home to The Whale Museum, which promotes “stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem through education & research.”

Beyond all of that, we’ve found the town to be particularly welcoming to our family and have met residents during the offseason that befriended us like we are one of their own. For the boys, the Family Resource Center, library story times, A Place to Play and the pool at San Juan Island Fitness are all great entertainment, especially during the wetter and darker days of winter. And joining in the town’s Halloween festivities and Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving have been highlights of our time there.

Our Pumpkins ready for trick-or-treating in Friday Harbor.

Yahtzee’s restaurant of choice: Haley’s Sports Bar & Grill Continue reading 5 Favorites: Cruising Towns

5 Favorites | Parks of the Gulf Islands

This is the fourth in an ongoing series called “5 Favorites” in which we’ll explore a range of topics such as memorable anchorages, marina showers, cruise-in breweries, fun things to do, ports, days of sailing, meals to make aboard and much more. The aim is not to make a list of “bests” or to rank things, but rather to provide an entertaining and insightful look at what we’ve enjoyed while cruising the Pacific Northwest. And since every boater has their favorites, we invite you to share yours in the comments below. 

British Columbia’s beautiful Gulf Islands are among our favorite places in the Pacific Northwest to drop the hook, tie a line ashore and head out on foot or by kayak to explore trails and beaches. So it was only natural that the many parks scattered among these islands would make a perfect “5 Favorites.”

But one of the things that guides this particular list is that our cruising time in the Gulf Islands has been heavily skewed towards the winter months. Cruising throughout the islands for many weeks at a time during the solitude of winter has been highly rewarding, but also means that very few boats are around. That being the case, we’ve visited all of these as the lone boat there and I’m not sure many of them would make my 5 Favorites had we been there exclusively in the more crowded times of the summer. Also, they are all great spots for kids, with easy hikes and accesible beaches.

Just like my previous “5 Favorites” topics, though, there are so many great ones to choose from that finalizing this list was extremely difficult. Alas, here are my 5 Favorite parks in the Gulf Islands from north to south.

parks Continue reading 5 Favorites | Parks of the Gulf Islands

5 Favorites: Memorable anchorages

This is the first in an ongoing series called “5 Favorites” in which we’ll explore a range of topics such as anchorages, breweries, fun things to do, ports, beautiful places, pubs, days of sailing, meals to make aboard and much more. The aim is not to make a list of “bests”, but rather of things we’ve enjoyed while cruising in the Pacific Northwest.  

Robbers Passage: With so many anchorages visited, choosing five was difficult.
Robbers Passage: With so many anchorages visited, choosing five was difficult.

In this first installment, and in no particular order, I’ll take you to my five favorite anchorages that we visited aboard Yahtzee while rounding Vancouver Island from mid-May to mid-August. During our circumnavigation of the island we spent 62 nights at anchor, which provides me with many potential spots to choose from. Picking just five was extremely difficult and while we enjoyed all the places we visited for one reason or another, these stuck out as favorites.

memorable-anchorages Continue reading 5 Favorites: Memorable anchorages