Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Wayne takes Ponghki, Frodo and Pete on their first foray dinghy to
Pete’s childhood summer hangout, Saddlebag Island, San Juan Islands, Washington.

“You gotta work on your camera technique,” Wayne chided. What he meant was a way to take photos unobtrusively. He is right. Nonetheless, it’s a rare event for Wayne to catch up with Pete, his friend all the way back from high school. I had to take at least one keepsake shot – even if it looks like Wayne’s missing some front teeth (he’s not). This was our first ever overnight hosting aboard our trawler, Serendipity.

Saddlebag Island, Washington State Park, San Juans.

Pete, Pete’s fiance Pongkhi and her Havanese, Frodo are all based in Seattle. We picked them up Friday eve in Anacortes, in a driving rainstorm. Pete suggested boyhood haunt, Saddlebag Island, less than 3 miles from Anacortes. It had been at least 15 years since Pete’s last visit there. 

Colorful collection of seaweed at Cypress Island’s Pelican Beach, San Juan Islands.

Our next stop was one of our favorites, Cypress Island. Everything was new for Pongkhi and Frodo, and this was also Pete’s first stop on Cypress. We anchored off pebbly Pelican Beach, as it was closer to Eagle’s CrestPelican Beach a popular stopover for kayakers, with a campsite, fire ring, covered picnic area and composting toilets.

Salamander on Cypress Island’s trail to Eagle Cliff from Pelican Beach.

We spotted two salamanders on the trail to Eagle’s Crest.

Waist-high ferns at lower part of trail from Pelican Beach to Eagle’s Cliff (or Duck Pond),
Cypress Island. San Juans.

The ferns along the trail were lush and tall. Even though the sun was out, the trail was dark underneath the forest canopy of Douglas fir and red cedar.

Overlook near the top of Eagle’s Cliff trail framed by a tapestry of trees and shrubs.
Cypress Island, San Juans.

Though it was definitely fall jacket weather, we were grateful for the sun. 

Fern on Cypress Island San Juans showing its fall colors.

The autumn foliage was gorgeous.

Coral mushrooms alongside the trail from Pelican Beach, Cypress Island, San Juans.

Pete was wishing his mushroom-hunting chef friend was there to advise us. Pete knew these coral mushrooms, technically, were edible, but had an overly strong laxative effect. We took only photos.

Red cypress perched on mossy hillside, Cypress Island, San Juans.

The light was glorious where the trail broke into the open.

View off Eagle’s Crest summit. Cypress Island, San Juans.

I love the emerald colored water from this panorama spot at Eagle’s Crest summit. The trail is closed spring through summer as that’s when eagles nest there.

Pete, Pongkhi, Frodo and Wayne at Eagle Crest Summit gazing Westward, Cypress Island, San Juans.

The top of Eagle’s Crest makes for a great lunch stop as well as a truly phenomenal view. Others say it’s the best-ever site they’ve seen sunsets, but that would mean hiking back in the dark.

Sailing “race” standstill between current and lack of wind. Zoom view from Eagle’s Crest summit.

We were amazed to watch a sailboat “race” from Eagle’s Crest summit. Eventually the sailboats gave up and motored so they’d make it back before dark.

Eastern (backside) view from Eagles Cliff summit, Cypress Island, San Juans.

The view from Eagle’s Cliff when you look over your shoulder is also respectable.

Serendipity on mooring ball, Pelican Beach, Cypress Island, San Juans.

Mooring is free off Pelican Beach. Eagles Harbor, on the other side of the island is usually more popular for boaters. 

Dusk view Mt. Baker and Cascades from our boat off Pelican Beach, Cypress Island, San Juans.

Photos can’t do justice to the spectacular snow-topped view of Mt. Baker. And this was taken from the deck of our boat!

Tall ship/schooner sailing the San Juans. Viewed off Pelican Beach, Cypress Island, San Juans.

Pete’s sailed tall ships, so it’s no surprise this beauty caught his eye.

Frodo does his happy dance, his leash wrapped around Pongkhi’s legs.
Pelican Beach, Cypress Island, San Juans.

Frodo’s “happy dance” is hilarious. We’re glad his trip to Pebble Beach rated one.

Pete, no stranger to sailing or the San Juans,  scopes out the view from Serendipity’s bow.

Pete spent his early years and childhood summers in the San Juans. This was his first experience cruising to from “the dark side,”  a sailboat rather than a trawler.

Pongkhi and Frodo enjoy San Juan Island sightseeing from Serendipity’s bow.

Everyone got along well, despite the tight quarters. Even Frodo adapted well to life aboard, albeit only a two-day stint. As Monday was a work day for Pete and Pongkhi (and Frodo usually joins her at work), we parted ways at the Anacortes-bound Friday Harbor ferry dock on San Juan Island. 

We hope to do this again with Pete and Pongkhi and Frodo!

For a great summary of where to sail, hike and kayak in the San Juans, click here.

Location Location
We’re currently moored off Port Angeles city docks, N48 07.249 W123 25.657. Tomorrow, weather permitting, we sail 52 miles to Neah Bay, then day after, 22 hours nonstop from there crossing the Columbia Bar into Astoria.