Empty mooring buoys in Fossil Bay
Sucia Island State Park
sits right on the border between Washington State and British Columbia at the south end of Georgia Straight. It was purchased by the local Yacht Clubs (Grand 14) and donated to Washington State to be used as a boat-only Marine Park. It is a very popular destination for boaters and is one of my favorite places in the entire world.
We head up to Sucia at least once a year and this was the first trip for Yes Please. Since we arrived before the peak season traffic and the weather was a little on the iffy side, we found Fossil Bay to be nearly deserted. We grabbed a buoy that should be protected from the predicted SW winds by the cliffs on the south side of the bay.
Yes Please on the State Park Dock at Fossil Bay
It turns out the forecast was wrong about the wind direction and we had very strong southeasters that made for a bumpy night spent on the buoy. In the morning, we moved to the dock and tied up for a better night’s sleep and to make taking the dog in much easier.
There are several excellent hikes on Sucia Island and we set out to conquer each and every one of them. Yankee thought it was great fun at first, but by the end of the day he was one pooped puppy dog!!
Grand Banks Eastbay 39, Yes Please at Fossil Bay
On our return to Fossil Bay after Independence Day, we found it to be very busy with all of the moorings taken. Fortunately, good timing meant some boats were leaving as we arrived and we grabbed a mooring ball and enjoyed the calm, tranquil waters. The boats on the docks were rafted up three deep and were partying into the wee hours of the night. When I took the dog ashore early the next morning, the dock looked pretty bad (beer cans, bottles, clothing, etc. strewn everywhere). I was glad we were parked far enough away.
Kayaking in Fossil Bay, Sucia Island
A bounding puppy equals pure joy on the beach of Spencer Spit!
After the 120 nautical mile run up to the San Juan Islands, I thought our puppy deserved a break where he could run on the beach freely, so we stopped at Spencer Spit State Park
(Lopez Island). We arrived to find no boats on any of the park’s buoys, so snagged one along the south side of the spit. Usually the park is a bit too busy for my taste, but we were early and the dog had behaved so well on our long trip up, that I thought it was worth stopping.
Yes Please on a parks buoy at Spencer Spit State Park.
We dropped the dinghy in the water and ferried Yankee
ashore. I don’t think I have ever seen such a happy puppy in my entire life. He was racing up and down the beach along the spit, retrieving sticks and bounding into the water with pure joy. Definitely the right spot to take a puppy full of energy. It did my heart good to see such a happy dog.
Eventually, we brought the dirty, wet dog back to the boat and he collapsed on a towel, drifting off to sleep. He’d ingested a bit of salt water, so we made sure he drank lots of fresh water. I could tell it wasn’t bothering him as any time either Sherri or I stood up and moved aft, Yankee would race past us and jump into the dinghy. There was no need to ask him if it was time to go “potty”.
Stick? Stick? Stick?!
In the evening, a large family of otters came by, while we watched the deer along the beach. As the wind died down, the stench from the marsh in the middle of the spit would waft our way. It’s a bit stinky (rotten egg smell), but it was worth it for such a happy dog.
Yankee digs the real grass dog potty out on the breakwater at Oak Harbor Marina
Oak Harbor Marina, on Whidbey Island, really goes out of their way to help visiting boaters. We stopped by on our long run up to the San Juan Islands and it was like hitting the proverbial “Easy Button”, the second we arrived.
The price of diesel at the fuel dock was about as inexpensive as it gets and they offer a $0.20 per gallon discount if you are mooring overnight! Marina staff checked on reciprocal moorage for us, then took care everything to get us checked in to guest moorage out on the inside of the breakwater.
It’s a long walk from guest moorage to shore, so Oak Harbor Marina has placed a floating restroom out on the breakwater as well as real grass for dogs to potty on. That’s what I call excellent service and we will definitely be back on our next trip north.
Yes Please tied up at Oak Harbor Marina.
We’d run the 130 mile trip from Olympia to Oak Harbor in about 5 hours, which included a quick touch and go potty stop for the dog at Manchester. It was windy and very shallow when we arrived, but there is plenty of water and navigation into the marina is pretty straight forward.
The walk to town is just less than a mile, but feels good after a long day and there are plenty of food and shopping choices.