Been planning a 4-to-5-day trip in the lovely San Juans with my buddy Bernie Swanson for a while now. Taking off Sunday the 29th of March from Friday Harbor after dragging our boats on the Anacortes ferry as foot passengers and dropping some gear with our friends at Discovery Sea Kayaks for safekeeping -- thanks Richard!
Mucho kudos also to my buddies Jim and Nadja who took a break from planning the San Juan Orca Challenge to send me a sweet list of suggested menu options leaning toward lots of fruit, nuts and fish. Speaking of the Challenge, it's coming up soon on May 16, and check out the official event watercolor, showing our heroes in their yellow Chiquita sprinting to the finish line alongside a friendly Orca.
So while gearing and planning, the luxury - and pitfall - of being an Eddyline rep in this wonderful business is picking which boat to bring along. The Falcon for distance... but Bernie says he's out of shape and doesn't want to go far... the Fathom for hot shot maneuverability... but is it too maneuverable for the conditions? the Nighthawk 17.5 if I want to carry two weeks' worth of stuff on a 4-day trip? And still hold pretty good speed? Sure, why not. Nighthawk it is.
Meanwhile all the layers of Stohly rashguards, bunny suit and bPod dry suit are going in the gear bag, of course the Stohlquist WDG bag which is awesome for sticking in the hatch and using to haul everything from the boat up to camp.
Next comes route planning, which was complex due to the timing and strength of the currents predicted for next week... ebbs beginning in mid-morning, and they generally run South in these islands, while our hoped-for route would take us North for the first couple days. We worked out a Friday Harbor-Cattle Pass (at the 1:30 slack current)-to San Juan County Park route for our first day, and now looking at predicted 20+kt SW winds and major potential swells coming from the Strait directly at the SW side of San Juan Island, thinking, hmmm, what's Plan B? Griffin Bay, Shaw Island, surf the wind waves up to Eastsound and beg a shuttle to the ferry from Shawna and Leon? Thinking, good judgment is your most important piece of safety gear. Yep. It's just a little San Juan trip... but just a little preparation can save a lot of hassle.