Deer Harbor, Orcas Island – Cruiser’s Review September & October 2019

Now that we’re all settled in for the winter, I am hoping to get caught up on our marina and anchorage reviews from all the places we visited this past summer and fall.

Deer Harbor, Orcas Island in the San Juans

Deer Harbor Orcas Island Anchorage Review September and October 2019

Here you can see some of the massive cliff face that protects Deer Harbor from any nasty west winds.

We visited Deer Harbor in the San Juans twice this past fall. This sheltered little bay is found on the southwest corner of Orcas Island.

Deer Harbor Orcas Island

Our first visit here was from September 20th to the 22nd and our second visit was from October 6th through 11th.

We really like this anchorage and appreciate how protected it is, especially from any west winds and pretty nicely from the north and east, as well.

Deer Harbor Anchorage

Above, you can see a Google Satelite image of Deer Harbor on Orcas Island.

  • The red dot is placed directly below the public pump-out dock and, along those lines, that linear dock along the inside nearest to the shore is the public county dock. (This is where we would land our dinghy and felt comfortable leaving it there throughout the day while we were off enjoying the town.)
  • The yellow outline is the primary anchorage. It is generally about 6-8 fathoms deep throughout and good holding. Note: somewhere along the western shore, roughly across from the southernmost dock of Deer Harbor Marina, there is a sunken sailboat to avoid in anchoring.
  • The lime green dot is where we anchored the first time that we stayed here. This was a good spot and we had zero concerns about leaving Mosaic here.
  • The bright/sky blue dot is where we anchored the second time we dropped the hook here and, it was a good spot, but we did have a LOT of wind during that stay and so we were a little concerned about the boat dragging while we were away during the day. Ultimately, she didn’t drag, but we should have anchored further out from the start and we would have been more comfortable.
  • At one point during our stay, we left for a day sail and came back the same day. When we came back, we anchored again at the pink dot along the eastern shore. This was also a good spot and we were comfortable overnight there.
Deer Harbor Orcas Island Anchorage Review September and October 2019

Here, behind Mosaic, you can see the Deer Harbor Marina and quaint little waterfront town.

Deer Harbor Marina is a very nicely maintained marina. I can’t comment on the pricing exactly as we didn’t stay in the marina, but I remember asking and thinking the price was pretty high. So, if you’re on a budget, definitely plan to anchor! There’s also a decently stocked marina store for minor provisioning, but again, it’s pretty expensive. Convenient but spendy.

The marina’s also got laundry, showers, and bathrooms. The bathrooms are unlocked and open to the public. The showers are open too but take tokens (not quarters) and we’re not sure if the marina would be willing to sell tokens to people that aren’t paying for a slip. We didn’t ask about the laundry.

There’s some fun exploration to be had ashore but not a whole lot of entertainment. There’s a nice path you can walk along up from the marina and along the cliff above. There’s a pretty small but still fun sand beach right near the marina, which is something to be noted as most beaches in the San Juans are pebble, not sand.

Obviously, we would recommend this place as a stopover. We liked it enough to visit more than once and it’s a great place to meet some super friendly local people and talk about island life in the San Juans. I hope this little cruising review has been useful for you. Check out my other anchorage and marina reviews here. Cheers! ~Rachel

Deer Harbor Anchorage Review - Fall 2019

Deer Harbor Anchorage Review - Fall 2019

Deer Harbor Anchorage Review - Fall 2019

Deer Harbor Anchorage Review - Fall 2019


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