View of Anacortes from the top of Cap Sante.
The Anacortes small boat dock. This can be used as dingy dock.
Kayaks and stand-up paddle boards use it too.
Anacortes is a popular place for boaters. You can pick up passengers, get fuel and provision easily. Cap Sante Boat Haven has a lot of guest slips. They also allow you to come in for a couple of hours during the day then leave, for free. There are two grocery stores close by. You can also anchor out and use the small boat dock as a dingy dock. Cap Sante Boat Haven slip rate as of 2015 was $1.30 a foot per night. If you decide to anchor in the anchorage you need to anchor for a storm. The wind can come up without warning and blow 30 plus knots. I anchored there for 6 weeks in the summer of 2015 and the wind blow 30 plus knots 6 times. Some of those 6 times were predicted, but not all. Each time the wind blew hard a few Boats drug their anchor. When a storm comes the wind comes from the southeast which is to the left of the words Fidalgo Marina in the image above. There is a swell with this wind because Fidalgo bay extends in that direction. During good weather there can also be high winds from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Those winds come from the low spot on the hill between the words Anacortes Marina and The Market in the image above. There is also seaweed in the anchorage (see last image below), so make sure you have a big enough anchor and have set it. The water is also shallow. The place I anchored ranged from 8 to 14 feet in the 6 weeks I was there. I used a 25 pound CQR and had 120 feet of chain out.
View of Cap Sante from the anchorage.
There is a small park on top of Cap Sante.
If you are here because you are broke-down, you may or may not have a good experience. In the summer they are very busy. The wait to get a repair on your engine could be three weeks. If you have to wait for parts, it could be more. Depending on what kind of engine you have they may not have parts. I have a Yanamar engine and nobody had parts. I found out later that there is a Yanamar dealer, but it was at Skyline Marina on the other side of the island. I would have had to take the bus to get there. However, there is a Marine Hardware and Supply stare at 2nd Street and Commercial, a West Marine store, Piston Services (auto parts store on route 20 just west of the Safeway), Sebo Hardware (also near Safeway), boat yards, and some diesel engine places. There are boat storage places here too. There may be more boats in storage than in the water. Some of the storage places sell boats. They have them all lined up in rows with a walkway behind them. The storage places are near Anacortes Marina and Fidalgo Marina.
The entrance to Fidalgo Marina.
Looking north from the tavel lift.
There are two grocery stores. The Safeway is across the street from the Cap Sante Boat Haven and The Market is two blocks south on Q street. If you are at anchor, The Market is probably closer if you take the shortcut through the parking lot. Both stores have there good points and I found myself going to both while I was there.
For those from the Salish Sea that are planning to go cruising, this would be a good place to test your anchoring skills. All the things that go on here will come up while you are cruising.
Looking south from travel lift.
Some of the places you might need to go to for repairs is near Fidalgo Marina. It is a long walk from Cap Sante Boat Haven. However, there is a public dock in Fidalgo Marina. The public dock is in front of the building with the blue roof, in the image to the left. It is free, but there is a 4 hour time limit.
One of the seals that liked to rest in my dingy.
If critters are not trying to make a home on your boat, then you are probably missing something ashore. This time the critter was a couple of seals that like to rest in my dingy.
There is seaweed on the bottom in some places in the anchorage. As you can see in the picture on the left, your anchor can get clogged with seaweed. This is a place that you want to make sure your anchor is set. The wind does blow 30 plus knots at times. More than one boat, while I was there, tried to anchor and could not get the anchor to set. After several tries they went into the marina.