Fisherman Bay, Lopez Island
Lopez Island, low and rolling, has long been a farming community. Its population is relatively small and all its shops and services are centered on Fisherman Bay. Most of the island’s large farms are slowly being parceled into vacation properties, but the rural spirit persists and people still wave to each other on the country roads.
Lagoon-like Fisherman Bay, halfway up the west side of Lopez, is the only anchorage on the island with a full range of boating facilities. There are two marinas with guest moorage, room for anchoring and restaurants within walking distance. A mile north is the commercial center of Lopez Village.

The entrance to Fisherman Bay is narrow and shallow, and the inside of the bay is charted at less than 2 fathoms. Boaters should study a detailed chart before entering and choose a rising tide with some margin for maneuvering. Be advised that anyone who runs aground here—a fairly common occurrence—does so in view of the town.

Moorings and Anchorage
Guest moorage is available at Islands Marine Center (IMC) and reservations are strongly recommended in summer (call 360.468.3377 or VHF Channel 69). The Lopez Islander Resort also offers moorage (for reservations, call 360.468.2233 or VHF Channel 78). All slips at both marinas have power and water.
Anchoring is good anywhere in the center of the bay, but it is less than 2 fathoms and may not be deep enough during a minus tide. Protection is good except in strong southerlies.

A boat at anchor in Fisherman Bay, near Lopez Village.


Getting Ashore
Both marinas have space for dinghies, though the IMC’s is limited; it’s fine to land at the IMC’s beach. The Galley Restaurant and Lounge, halfway down the bay on the east side, has a small float for customers. Public shore access is also at the street end east of entrance mark “4”, at the street end outside the entrance to Fisherman Bay, and at the spit and cove inside the spit (part of Fisherman Bay Preserve). All other piers and floats in the bay are private, as are the tidelands.

For the Boat and Crew
The Islander fuel dock is on the north side of the main pier, and there’s a store selling ice and snack items. Full marine repair services are available at IMC, which has a well-stocked marine store and also sells ice. IMC has showers for moorage customers only. Boaters moored at the Islander can use the resort’s showers, Jacuzzi, pool and laundry. There are also showers at the public restroom in Lopez Village.

The closest restaurants are the Islander and the Galley. There are more restaurants in the village center, which also has a bakery, bookstore, gift shops and a fully stocked grocery store. North of the village is a post office, hardware store and a pharmacy with a soda fountain. The island’s historical museum is located near the village. There’s a bicycle rental company, Lopez Bicycle Works, near the Islander.
A Saturday farmers market is held in summer, and Lopez celebrates the Fourth of July with a parade through town.

Sailor, writer and teacher Migael Scherer, who divides her time between Seattle and Lopez Island, is the author of “A Cruising Guide to Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands,” published by International Marine/McGraw-Hill. The guide can be purchased online through Armchair Sailor Books & Charts, Captain’s Nautical Supplies, Amazon and other retailers.