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Visit Vendovi Island Preserve

       For years all of us have been going around Vendovi  Island on our way to Sucia or the inner islands.  If you are thinking Vendovi sounds familiar but can't quite place it, I will tell you - it is the little 200+ acre dot on your chart due south from the southern tip of Lummi Island.  200 acres is about the size of Jones Island if that comparison is of any help.  The map clipping below should help you zero in on Vendovi's location.

        The San Juan Preservation Trust has owned and protected Vendovi Island since 2010.  Visiting  days are  April 1st through Sept. 30.    Open hours are 10 am to 6 pm, Thursday through Monday. They are closed Tues. and Wed.

        Access is a small cove at the north end.  There is a 70 foot, first come no reserve dock behind the breakwater, or you may beach kayaks and dinghy's in front of caretaker home if the dock is full. No anchoring in the cove or overnight stays at the dock are allowed.

      Bring your hiking shoes and plan to immerse yourself in unspoiled wilderness, but you should stay on the trails if you  truly respect the wilderness and the SJPT mission to preserve.  No camping, fires, bicycles, or hunting, pets are to be on leash.  Enjoy!

San Juan Preservation Preserve Vendovi Island

      Learn about the many San Juan Preservation Trust  preserves  here  >> Map of SJPT preserves


Is disaster simply one little mistake away?

 This is a short accounting of what we watched evolve on a balmy calm peaceful Sunday afternoon. The gentleman side tied behind us cast off, he said he was going to swing by the pumpout on the other dock and then head for home. I waved from our cockpit and dove back into my magazine. Suddenly my concentration is interrupted by a revving engine. "Somethings wrong," I said to Linda, "look over there." The boater that had just left had entered the next fairway, the current was dragging him towards the two foot high aluminum footbridge that connects the walkways.  "He's in trouble," I said, "the currents too much and he can't complete the turn."  Next, to my surprise he guns the engine of his thirty footer, full throttle, attempting to make a 180 degree turn before he strikes the walkway.  His boat does indeed miss the footbridge and almost completes the turn but instead, he hits the dock next to the pumpout and with engines screaming, he drives the as yet undamaged boat  three quarters of the way onto the dock.  Not quite out of the water and at a steep angle he slams it into reverse.  The boat instantly pulls off the dock, sliding back into the water. Now mostly turned around, the boat powers backwards towards the footbridge.  The unmistakable sound of crunching fiberglass is heard a split second afterwards as the driver finally throttles back and then kills the engines.

The whole sad episode is over as fast as the engines could rev up.  By the time I and some other onlookers get over there with our boat hooks the boat is back in the water floating peacefully next to the pumpout. What can you say to someone that has just trashed their boat in a frenzied show of dumb mistakes compounded by more dumb mistakes.

Speaking for myself and probably a few other skippers that have misjudged currents and our boats handling or lack of handling.  I will say, I too have gunned the motor in a last ditch effort to clear an obstacle. I may even have bumped a few times.  Luckily I have never done any real damage or I have suppressed the memory.

Experience teaches us lessons, sometimes expensive lessons. In this instance, one lesson learned is to not try to turn around upstream of anything you don't want to hit. In lieu of that, don't hit it at full throttle.

In this situation two alternative actions come to mind. #1 the driver could have turned his boat around outside the fairway and backed down to the pumpout, although he would still run the risk of crashing if he lost power or control in the strong current. #2 and a better choice, would be to choose another location or wait for a tide change.  Sometimes it is best to not push your luck.