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Use the Friday Harbor Marina Camera

     Over on the left side of this website is a link to the Friday Harbor Camera. The live camera usually pans back and forth covering most of the marina.  If you watch closely you can see at the bottom of the gangway, A-dock, Comm dock, Walkway C and the By-pass dock, all are side tie and available for transient use. (look at the Friday Harbor marina map to get your bearings, marina map ) This area is first come first served and is assigned or reserved via the harbor master on ch 66. Looking at the space available and the dinghy dock spaces directly below the gangway will give you a sneak preview of how crowded the marina is.   If you choose to stay at one of these side tie docks you will reduce your walk to shore by about a quarter mile. The Comm dock has electricity.


Watmough Bay Park / Preserve

     This secluded gem of an anchorage is at the far south end of Lopez Island. No! not at popular Iceberg Point or Agate Beach, the south eastern end facing Rosario Strait. The cute little bay is mostly rock free, well protected and you can anchor in two fathoms a short dinghy ride from shore. Mostly visited by vehicle and bicycle travelers the gravel beach is popular with paddle boarders and swimmers. The park boasts standard upgraded outhouse restrooms a quarter-mile walk up a level trail where the ten-car parking lot is located. Two hiking trails complete this worthwhile destination, there are no onshore campsites so you will have the place to yourself when the day-use people head for home.

Watmough Bay Lopez Island

     *Tips for Visiting:  Bicycle-Boating Rendezvous: Although there is no dock, Watmough Bay can be an excellent drop-off or pick-up point for a combined bicycle and boating tour of Lopez Island.
Timing: Large swells can be encountered offshore near Point Colville and Davidson Rock buoy where the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Rosario Strait intersect. To avoid rough waters, it’s best to time your visit for near slack water on a low wind day.
Fog Considerations: Fog is a common occurrence and can linger for days, so be prepared for reduced visibility.
Rewarding Visit: Despite the challenges, a visit to Watmough Bay is highly rewarding for those who make the effort to reach this beautiful and secluded spot.


Excellent Anchoring Etiquette and Proper First Impressions at State Marine Parks

        Oh yeah!   Everyone remembers when you anchored, you were the one saying eff'g this and eff'g that while instructing your crew in dealing with your short comings. Yeah, we remember you calling your wife an idiot and moron.  Idiot for not pushing you over the side tied to the anchor is more accurate.

Loud, obnoxious, boisterous, yelling and foul language are no way to announce your arrival to the anchorage.  You should be on your good behavior, you will never get another chance to make that first impression.

It's entirely possible that there is no room where you want to anchor, and you have no choice but to move along to your second choice.  You can't squeeze in where you wont fit, and if you do force the issue, and there is an incident causing damage, you will be responsible financially.  I think most boaters are a forgiving and helpful bunch, but not if your an inconsiderate dweeb to begin with.  Hint: Ask the other boaters already anchored for help in anchoring before you anchor in their yard.  They may just move over a little to help you out.

The old adage first come first served is true when you anchor, meaning the guy there ahead of you has claim to his spot, and you need to respect his anchor location and swing of his boat. The guy that comes in after you will stay out of your way, and so forth.

Stern anchor plus bow anchor:
Many hot spots will have more boats than can hang and swing safely so skippers have taken to hooking out both directions, and stretching the boat in the middle to limit swing, thereby cramming more boats in safely.  This is perfectly acceptable provided the weather agrees.  If you arrive in one of these places and don't follow suit you're being somewhat within your limited boater rights, however taking an exorbitant amount of room to anchor your yacht spoils the fun so  you may not be invited to sun-downers.   When it gets really crowded, skippers will raft boats together, usually anchoring just the biggest boats.  Let the party begin.

Defensive boating, is just like in your car, you need to be prepared to move when a boat comes at you dragging its anchor.  Watch others upstream of you when they anchor, if they don't have much scope out, or didn't set their anchor, watch out.  Its better to move your boat in the daylight before they drag into you in the dark.

What about private anchor buoys?
Most of the harbors and resorts around the San Juan's have private buoys scattered around. You should leave them alone unless you have permission to use them. They may be not maintained and unsafe, the owner may show up after dark and tell you to leave.  Emergency's are different, but your emergency may not matter to the owner.

Anchor lights:
If you're in an established anchorage, (all parks are ) you don't need to have a light, but if you think someone may run into you in the dark, turn it on, that's the smart call.  We use a battery powered light run up a halyard, plus if we are on shore after dark, it makes finding the boat easier.  It is disconcerting paddling the dinghy into the darkness and not being able to see your boat.

See  article on first time anchoring,  How to anchor that yacht  Anchor that Yacht