My family and I are leaving Everett, WA on Friday July 18th in route to Lopez Island. We hope to make it through slack tide at Deception pass around 11:15am, and our final destination is Fisherman Bay on Lopez. I have been looking for online resources and reading some books about the trip, but I can not find a definite recommendation about the safest route to Lopez (either through Cattle pass or around through Lopez Pass or Thatcher Pass). Can you help? I will be traveling with my small children and I want to make it the best experience possible. We have a 28ft boat.
There is no one safest route to Fisherman Bay. Everything depends on the weather and the tidal currents. Since you are leaving from Everett, you’ll be traveling up the east side of Whidbey Island and you’ll get into the islands through Lopez Pass or Thatcher Pass. Cattle Pass really isn’t a good option. You’d have to spend more time in more open water, and if the sun is shining the westerly sea breeze will be getting under way.
I see that July 18 is the day the moon is full, meaning big tides and strong currents. Slack, turn to flood, in Rosario Strait is predicted for 1:24 p.m. If wind is not a factor, I would plan to cross to Lopez Pass or Thatcher Pass around that time, definitely not before that time. Although the tides are large, at least you will be crossing on a flood. Don’t even think about crossing on an ebb. On an ebb, the tide rips that build at the south end of Rosario Strait and between Guemes Channel and Thatcher Pass can range from uncomfortable to dangerous.
I follow my own advice, by the way. On our way north this year we got up early to cross from Anacortes to Thatcher Pass at slack, turn to flood, and had an easy crossing.
Do you have a copy of Captn. Jack’s Tide & 2008 Current Almanac? If not, I recommend that you get one. It shows the tides and currents clearly, with each day having complete information. I used Captn. Jack’s to write this reply.
I also urge you to buy and carry a complete set of charts for your trip. We have complete charts, and we use them.
Waggoner Cruising Guide