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The approach to Eastsound's fishing bay.

The approach to Eastsound’s fishing bay.

Eastsound is the largest population center on Orcas Island, making it popular with tourists arriving by vehicle ferry, but is not really set up well for visiting boaters. Located at the northern tip of East Sound’s Fishing Bay, the prevailing Southerly winds and long fetch means it is usually much to rough and windy to safely anchor. We lucked out after being rousted out of West Sound at first light to a forecast of brisk north winds, so made a breakfast stop at the Rosario resort, then headed north.

Anchoring in Fishing Bay is a little challenging. The shallow part of the bay is marked as a “no anchor” zone to protect eel grass, which means you have to anchor in deeper water on a very steep slope. I dropped the hook close to Indian Island and ran out 150′ of chain before attaching the chain snubber and checking the anchor’s set. It was good, so we dropped the dinghy in the water and ran the puppy over to the public dock and made the long hike to town.

Panoramic View of East Sound while anchored at Eastsound

Panoramic View of East Sound while anchored at Eastsound


Eastsound is pretty touristy, with a few hotels, numerous restaurants, too many gift stores, and a very large grocery store. It would be a great place to provision if you didn’t have to hike so far to get back to the public dock. Speaking of the public dock, it is very small, very shallow and pretty busy. Watch the tides and your draft when tying up as the inside of the dock can shoal at minus tides. We picked up some fresh food and replenished the wine supply before returning to Yes Please to enjoy the magnificent view.

Grand Banks Eastbay 39, Yes Please, anchored in East Sound, Orcas Island.

Grand Banks Eastbay 39, Yes Please, anchored in East Sound, Orcas Island.

A beautiful, new, Back Cove arrived with a boat load of kids and attempted to anchor near us. While admiring the new boat (which looks very similar to ours), we watched more than two dozen failed attempts to set the anchor. I was just getting into the dinghy to go over and offer some assistance when they gave up and headed for Judd Bay. It was quite obvious to me that the boat’s operator was backing up much too fast while lowering the anchor (both 500 HP motors were in reverse) and was pulling it off the steep slope and into water deeper than he had chain out. I’m never quite sure if an offer of assistance would be welcome and did not want to embarrass the boat’s crew.

We headed to the White Horse Pub for dinner, which was meh, and saw lots of interesting sites around the Eastsound Public Dock, including some naked bathing off the beach, lots of drug deals along Haven Road and made the obligatory stops to buy some trinkets in several gift shops. I was glad that we stopped to visit, but doubt that we will be coming back.