While I see patients during the week and Larry teaches people how to drive boats and navigate for Freedom Boat Club, we are focused on getting stuff done. On the weekends, we have time to explore our region around Anacortes and the San Juan Islands, especially when we have the good fortune to use one of the Freedom Boat Club boats, an employee benefit for Larry – and for me, since it saves me from fighting off “we need to buy another boat!”.
Over Father’s Day weekend we were able to take a boat out and cruise, or zoom, over to Vendovi Island. On the little Jenneau NC 895, [Editor’s note: The boat pictured below is actually a Defiance San Juan 220, also from Freedom Boat Club, but from a later weekend when we went back with Miranda]. we flew there at 25 knots and zipped into the little dock as the only other boat when we arrived. On our Nordhavn this would have taken a couple of hours at 8 knots, and we would not have been able to tie up or anchor in the tiny little harbor because of our size.
Vendovi Island is part of the San Juan Preservation Trust, an organization focused on preserving land as nature preserves in the San Juan Islands. This island was originally used by the Coast Salish peoples for many many years as a summer home. They harvested camas bulbs from the hillside, which they maintained as fields through strategic use of controlled burns.
In 1841, Charles Wilkes’ Navy exploring ship passed by and named the island after a captive on their ship whom they apparently had decided they liked – Fijian chief Ro Veidovi Logavatu. In a classic white man error, his name is misspelled in the island name. You can read a bit more about the original exploration and the chief here. Over the years in the 1800s and early 1900s the island was used for a fur farm, for sheep farming, as a homestead and even a religious compound for followers of Father Divine. In the 1960s the Fluke family, of Fluke Electronics, bought the island for a private retreat and held it until 2010 when they put it up for auction and the Trust bought it.
Now the island has several miles of trails crossing the island from the harbor through deep woods to a high bluff overlooking the water and a panoramic view of some of the islands. There is a picnic table near the dock where you can picnic and look out over the water. There is a public restroom, but it is closed now during the pandemic for sanitation reasons.
Lots of scenic nature to explore close to home! If you are boating in the San Juans and anchored nearby, this is a great dingy spot for exercise, perhaps a bit of solitude and communing with nature.