The San Juan Islands are the perfect destination for an escape and the Motor Vessel David B is the best way to experience this sunny archipelago, located in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains.
On all of our San Juan Island Escapes, we make stops at uninhabited islands for hiking, tide pooling, and bird watching. Additionally, we stop at one of the many colorful island towns that make up the character of the San Juans. Each day, we keep a lookout for the local orca whale pods that are an icon of the islands and a highlight for any cruise.
All cruises on the David B are fully crewed by Captain Jeffrey and Chef/Naturalist Christine Smith. Our cruises have all inclusive pricing*. The David B is a beautifully converted 65 foot cannery tender built in 1929. It has four private cabins and carries only eight guests. We take care of everything so you don’t have to.
This video shows how we were surprised by a male orca swimming with a pod of Dalls porpoises. The sound in the background is of the David B’s original last-of-its-kind Washington Iron Works 3-cylinder engine.
Note: All of our trips are different and are dependent on tide, currents, weather, and wildlife. This is a sample of a typical cruise on the David B
Day 1- Bellingham to Orcas Island:
The boarding time for the David B is at 9:00 am in Bellingham, Washington. You will have time to stow your belongings before gathering with the crew for an orientation of the boat and safety meeting. Approximately 10:00 am, the boat will leave the harbor and cruise through Bellingham Bay to Orcas Island and Rosario. While we are at Rosario you can spend time exploring the Moran Mansion Museum or if you prefer, you can also take a walk into Moran State Park After returning to the David B, we’ll get underway for Double Island and the first night’s anchorage.
Day 2 – Double Island, Jones Island, and San Juan Island
The day starts with coffee and muffins at 7:00 am. Breakfast is served around 8:00 am. After breakfast, you can take a kayak out for a morning paddle or spend time on the boat. We’ll get underway for Jones Island around 10:30 am. Along the way you’ll be watching for seals, pigeon guillemots, oystercatchers and marbled murrelets. Jones Island is an uninhabited state marine park with casual walking trails and fantastic views of many of the other islands in the San Juans. In the afternoon, when you have returned from exploring Jones Island, the David B gets underway again and cruises over to Garrison Bay on San Juan Island.
Day 3 – San Juan Island to Sucia Island
Day three’s morning activity is a walk through the historical English Camp and on up to the top of Mount Young. This easy 3-mile round-trip walk has a gradual 650 foot vertical gain and one of the best panoramas in the San Juans. If you come in Late April, you will be treated to beautiful wildflowers growing along the trail. After lunch, we will take the David B over to Roche Harbor where you will have plenty of time to wander through town and visit the unique McMillin family mausoleum or the outdoor sculpture garden before returning to the David B and heading to Sucia Island. Once the anchor is down you will have lots of time to explore Echo Bay before dinner. The rocky sandstone shoreline is home to many inter-tidal creatures, such as sea stars and anemones that you can easily see in either a kayak or on one of Sucia’s many trails.
Day 4 Sucia Island to Bellingham
On day four there will be time for you to take a hike in the morning around Sucia Island on well maintained trails. Once you’ve returned to the boat, you can also spend a couple of hours paddling over to Fossil Bay where you can enjoy beautifully sculptured sandstones and maybe even find a fossil or two. We will have lunch at Echo Bay before raising the anchor and heading back to Bellingham. We will return to our dock approximately 5:00 pm.
*Travel to and from the David B or hotel accommodations before and after the cruise are not included.