Chesapeake Sailors Charter in Pacific Northwest

Chesapeake sailors charter in the San Juan Islands

This autumn members of The Sailing Club, Inc. enjoyed a charter in the Pacific Northwest’s San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington. Our sailors chartered a 40-foot Caliber and a 44-foot Jeanneau from Anacortes Yacht Charter in Anacortes, WA, about two hours north of Seattle. 

Orcas off San Juan Island
Orca sightings were among the anticipated experiences that did not disappoint.

The marina facilities were well maintained, and the charter company staff were professional. We boarded the boats September 9 and sailed for eight days. This trip met all our expectations: cool nights and warm days, orca sightings, charming port towns, and such quiet that you felt you could sink your teeth into it. Away from all large cities, the stars were magnificent, and the views were world-class. We even spotted a few pods of orcas, lots of seals, a bald eagle, and one beautiful schooner, Zodiac. The only thing we were missing was wind! 

Schooner Zodiac
The club's charter crews caught a glimpse of the the beautiful schooner Zodiac.

We didn’t get a favorable breeze until day four, but it thankfully lasted a day and a half, and our two boats took full advantage. Enjoying the sunshine was the trade-off for wind, and we had no recourse but to accept the trade. We all brought rain gear due to the reputation of the Pacific Northwest, but only a small shower early in the trip required its use. Sunshine, temperatures in the 70s, and blue skies were our norm.

September in the San Juan Islands had been reported as a good time to visit. It is a “shoulder season” for chartering. The harbors we visited were busy, but not crowded. The Saturday morning farmers market in Anacortes definitely made our provisioning of fresh produce more fun. Both boats loaded up with fresh picked apples, blackberries, vegetables, and homemade pies. We left the marina Sunday morning September 10 for a short sail to our night anchorage off Lopez Island.  

September is not a foggy month normally, and it was true for our time there. A few mornings started out with a view of a fog bank off in the distance, but it stayed in the distance. We were disappointed that the seafood stand on the dock in Friday Harbor was closed for the season already, but we found, and highly recommend, OysterTale, in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. Their menu and atmosphere of relaxed sophistication provided just the right end to a great day on the water. Lean more about our club at

By Mary Ann Gordon

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