Having just returned from a 200 mile sweep around the San Juan's, I am fresh with observations and thoughts of how to improve the experience.
Everyone knows that dock space is first come first served and not to expect room for one more when you arrive. However, there is room for more if you try using some common sense. Somewhere in the mountain of state park dock rules and regs is the suggestion to locate boats close together. Spacing boats fifteen feet apart is not helpful and yet it is common. Tying ones dinghy to the float instead of rafting it is another obvious inconsiderate ploy that effectively exclude others. By the way, did they pay for the extra dinghy footage?
Speaking of dinghy's, many parks have designated dinghy docks but I see people with fifteen foot inflatables, complete with 50hp outboards, consoles, windshields and bimini's, side tied at the dinghy dock forcing real dinghy's to make do as best they can. What is really annoying is when you realize the offending dinghy belongs to the fifty five footer tied to the same float.
Speaking of bigger or smaller boats, a considerate skipper will let his longish bow area stick out beyond the end of the float so his fifty five feet only uses forty feet of dock. Stop! I know this trick is a bad idea in some locations and for some boats. Obviously, I'm not suggesting being foolish, I'm suggesting being thoughtful and considerate.
While we are talking considerate activities, how long is long enough or too long to run a generator? During my latest visit we were treated to a generator running for eight hour stretches. It was during the daytime and it was fairly quiet but come on, at least get off the dock and anchor out a ways. I was anchored out myself, it must have been no fun at all for the people close by.
I spend some of my non San Juan boating time around jet skis, water skiers, tubers, newbies, loud music and alcohol fueled people enjoying the water. As such, I expect close encounters, big wakes and general on water mayhem. But not in the San Juan's, the San Juan's attract an older more refined, mature crowd. We have miles of room to navigate, there is really no reason for close encounters. Jet skis are outlawed and proper boating is the norm. On this visit a thirty five footer at high speed overtook us and passed by so close they would have hit us if I had turned unexpectedly. I had no time to react, their wake rolled us so violently that one crew was thrown out of their seat and some of our belongings came crashing off shelves and out of cabinets breaking on the cabin sole. I regret I did not get a picture or name of the offending boat. I am not embarrassed that acting on reflex, I cussed them over the radio. Then after realizing in my haste I may not have keyed the mike, I did it again clearly to make sure they heard. I hope they heard me but my antenna was down with the inflatable on the roof so my range was greatly reduced. I apologize for may last paragraph, I'm still reeling when I think about the incident.
On an upnote, at Jones Island, as we were anchoring, a skipper at the float yelled over to us that he was leaving in a few minutes. We aborted lowering the hook and moved over, thank you very much.
Also at Jones, we thought we lost a cell phone, trail mix and passports in a drybag at our camp site, only to find it two days later where a racoon had stashed it in the bushes, unharmed but chewed on.