Browning Harbor, North Pender Island, BC to Dear Harbor, Orcas Island, WA – back to the USA and returning

We left North Pender Island on the way to Deer Harbor, Orcas Island via Roche Harbor to clear US customs.  It  took 3 hours to travel to Deer Harbor including the time to clear US Customs. A map showing our travels today is shown below.

North Pender Island to Orcas Island via Roche Harbor


Normally, when you enter the US from a foreign country, a passport is use, but this time, I am going to use my passport card for the first time.  Passport cards can only be used when entering the US by land or sea, and if entering by sea, you need to enter from a country in the Western Hemisphere.  Passport cards look like a driver’s license.  They are handy for people that enter the USA from both Canada and Mexico either by sea or land.  A passport card cannot be used to enter the USA by aircraft no matter where your flight or travel originated.  The passport card eliminates the need to carry a regular passport for those that meet the necessary conditions previously discussed.  More information on passport cards is available at:

Roche Harbor is located on the northern part of San Juan Island.  It originally started as a limestone mine, but now it is an exclusive resort.  Boats of all sizes visit Roche Harbor, but if your boat is less than 100 ft., you could easily get the feeling that you just do not fit in.  A very nice hotel, restaurants, and a complete grocery store is available here.  More information about Roche Harbor is available at the links below.

Map of Roche Harbor:

Roche Harbor History:

Map of San Juan Island:

Map of the San Juan Islands:

Getting to and from San Juan Island:

Clearing US Customs at Roche Harbor:

Roche Harbor Resort:

Roche Harbor Marina: htp://

WiFi works well at Roche Harbor.  I remember because I was there on vacation in 2008 and got a phone call from my boss at the time, Dave M., and he told me that he needed my DISA performance appraisal.  It did not matter that he knew I was on vacation, he needed that appraisal now.  Well worse things have happened to me in my life.  I just dealt with it, and typed up my appraisal sitting in the sun, and emailed it to him.  Of course, I did not do it on my government issued computer, but I bet it has been the only DISA performance appraisal written while soaking up the sun in Roche Harbor.  One good thing about writing my performance appraisal on the back of a boat in the sun is that it was actually work.  So I made sure that I got credit for the time worked when I got back, and it did save some annual leave hours.  I sure wished over the years that some other work related emergency would have required some attention from me in the San Juan Islands, but it never happened again.  Aw shucks.

We headed for Deer Harbor after clearing US Customs.  This will be the third year in a row that we have stayed at Deer Harbor.  I think the favorite thing that we like here is going to the Deer Harbor Restaurant.  The owner of the Deer Harbor Restaurant will actually drive down to the Dear Harbor Marina, and pick you up in an old Cadillac.  It is a real hoot to ride the old Cadillac back and forth from the restaurant.  The other great thing is that we always enjoy the food at Deer Harbor Restaurant.  More information about Deer Harbor, and the area is available at the links below:

Map of Deer Harbor:

Map of Orcas Island:

Deer Harbor Marina:

Orcas Island History:

Getting to and from Orcas Island:

A few pictures of our cruise from Browning Harbor, North Pender, Roche Harbor, and Deer Harbor are shown below:

Leaving Browning Harbor on the way to Deer Harbor

Passing thru the bridge between North Pender and South Pender Islands
Passing the channel between Stuart Island, WA and Jones Island, WA on the way to Roche Harbor

US Customs dock at Roche Harbor, WA


Rejoice docked at Roche Harbor while clearing US Customs


Leaving Roch Harbor, WA after clearing US Customs


Cruising the channel between Spieden Island and San Juan Island heading east towards Deer Harbor
Preparing to land at Deer Harbor Marina


Rejoice tied up at Deer Harbor







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