Why “lunatics”? The inspiration was the beautiful view of the almost-full moon during our night afloat in Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island. But if I had to justify it with a theme, I’d say this:

Some would call us lunatics for leaving home during the pandemic even though we were masked and only went ashore in uninhabited places. Others would call us lunatics for believing that there is a pandemic.

We live in strange times.

A week or so ago, I noticed that the long range weather forecast showed a period of calm winds and sunny days for the San Juans. We decided to make what will almost certainly be our final trip of the year aboard Impromptu. Counting this trip, we have 72 nights aboard this year.

The trip also gave me a chance to try out our recently-installed 3D sonar. I discovered two things. First, it works. Second, until you get it adjusted properly you can get some surreal results.

We hit the dock mid-morning, loaded warm clothing and food aboard and set out for the one hour cruise to Eagle Harbor. For those familiar with the Seattle area, this is not Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island, it’s on Cypress Island near Anacortes. Cypress is the Island that you could see right in front of you when standing on the deck of our former Anacortes home.

As we crossed the Guemes Channel, we were treated to this classic view: Mt. Baker, snow and a ferry.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources provides mooring buoys in Eagle Harbor for visiting boaters. Unlike the state’s Marine Parks, there is no charge for use of the buoys on Cypress. This is because they are trying to re-establish certain marine life on the seabed and don’t want the flora and fauna clonked by dropping anchors.

Once tied to the buoy of our choice (we were the only boat there), we were treated to this view of the neighboring Cone Islands and, once again, Mt. Baker.

Take a good look. You will never see Eagle Harbor empty in the summer.

Because we arrived mid-afternoon, we decided to just hang out aboard, relax and watch the moon come up. At this time of year, it didn’t take long.

The next morning, we took the dinghy ashore for the five mile round trip walk to Smuggler’s Cove on the other side of the Island. We hadn’t done this relatively easy walk for years and enjoy it because it takes us around two sides of Duck Lake.

Mary Anne inspects the remains of an old cabin at lakeside. We don’t know anything about it. Was it a warming shed for loggers? A full-time home? A summer retreat? No idea.

A classic specimen of one of my favorite trees, the madrona. Depending on your nationality and nature, you may call these twisty evergreens arbutus, madrone, madroño, madroña, bearberry or even “strawberry tree”.

Once a comfy place to rest. Presumably.

I know nothing about fungi. Well, I know one thing. If you don’t know anything about them, don’t eat any that you pick.

We picked nothing, but we saw an interesting variety of specimens.

After another mile’s walk, we descended to the western shore of the Island and our destination, Smuggler’s Cove. I’ll let the sign tell the story.

A surprising amount of fencing remains.
It may be basic, but not so basic that Interior Decoration was ignored.

My guess is that Mrs. Hardy knew what lay ahead for a person with a cancer diagnosis in 1940. I imagine this was the last thing she saw as she walked into the 50 degree water and passed into eternity.

After returning from our walk (always nice to find the dinghy where you left it), we cast off from our buoy and headed for tiny James Island.

We’ve only made day trips to James in the past, so an overnight was a new experience. There is a nice new dock on the western side of this dumbbell-shaped Island but there were two large boats there when we arrived, so we circled around to the eastern side and took a buoy.

Because this side of the Island opens directly onto Rosario Strait with its ferries, tankers and tugs, there’s a risk of a bouncy night. But we believed, correctly as it turned out, that with reduced traffic due to COVID-19 closing the border and no wind, we would be OK.

The next morning, we went ashore and walked the 2.5 mile loop trail in sunny and, for the season, warm weather.

We enjoyed the walk so much, that we took practically no photos. Some of you won’t need them, having visited James Island with us in the past. For the rest of you — sorry.

After our walk and a bit of lunch, it was back to Anacortes to prepare Impromptu for a lonely, cold winter while we are elsewhere. Once boat chores were done, we headed for drinks with former neighbors around their outdoor fireplace. Masks? Check. Air flow? Check. Proper distancing? Check.

You may think us lunatics either for not taking enough precautions — or for taking any.


  1. Oh, thank you for that wonderful adventure (for me!) I enjoyed your trip and the photos greatly. Good friends live on Guemes and my aunt had a cabin near Skyline – actually Rancho San Juan Del Mar was the name of the development! Years ahead of Skyline. I know the area a bit.

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