hikes

July 16, 2010

Sea Kayaking in the San Juan Islands

Date: July 15-17, 2010
Location: San Juan Islands in the Puget Sound, Washington

Our first trip to the San Juan Islands for camping at Orcas Island and a day of sea kayaking at Sucia Island. Starting with the ferry ride, the views of the San Juan Islands have a calming effect.

We camped at Moran State Park at Cascade Lake. The park is very nice, with miles of trails and the highest point in the San Juan Islands: Mount Constitution. The views at the top are amazing. We were lucky and had extremely good weather the whole time we were there. Clear skies, calm water, warm sun… it doesn’t get much better than that.

We went through Shearwater Adventures for a full day kayaking trip. They provided the kayaks and gear, and a knowledgeable guide that took us all around the Sucia Islands. Since the islands are across a channel that can be dangerous to paddle, they took us by speedboat and then we set off from there. I had never kayaked before, and I was a little afraid of how I might do, but it was not hard at all and was very cool getting to be in a kayak gliding across the water. We were in a tandem kayak, so I could take breaks to take lots of photos (and give my arms a chance to rest).

Wildlife we encountered included harbor seals and their pups, bald eagles and porpoises. It was low tide, so there were plenty of starfish and sea anemones along the rocky shoreline, and I’ve never seen so many jellyfish in the water, or as much seaweed.

The town of Eastsound is cute and quaint, with plenty of cafes for coffee and meals. The farmers market was setting up as we were leaving and while small, had plenty of variety for such a small island.

driving onto the ferry in Anacortes

view of Mount Baker from the ferry

ferry landing at Lopez Island

view of the San Juans from the ferry

view of Sucia Islands from Mount Constitution

view of Mount Baker from Mount Constitution on Orcas Island

view from Mount Constitution

view from Mount Constitution

Fox Cove on Sucia Island: the beginning of our sea kayaking tour

gearing up for kayaking

leaving Fox Cove to go around Sucia Island

west side of Sucia Island

northwest side of Sucia Island

stopping for lunch at Ewing Cove

Ewing Cove

interesting sandstone formations at Ewing Cove

Ewing Cove

smaller islands around Echo Bay

in Echo Bay heading towards the Finger Islands

Echo Bay

kayaking between the Finger Islands

the Finger Islands

on the south side of Sucia Island

the sea floor pushed up to form these islands as evidenced here

back in Fox Cove to unload

leaving Sucia Island on the speedboat

the town of Eastsound on Orcas Island

getting ready to head home on the ferry at Orcas Landing

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  • Paula Johnston

    Your photos are amazing, Lisa! What a wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing– we really want to return and visit. It’s been 11 years since we were there. Hope to seey you soon!

  • Thanks Paula! I’m sure that we will be going back quite often. John is completely smitten.

  • Andrea Scott

    Wonderful photos! Tristan and I just recently discovered our passion for kayaking! Good stuff!

  • Lou Ruiz

    We are doing this same kayaking tour in August with Outer Island Expeditions, I’m excited about seeing all the beautiful and peaceful landscapes but a bit nervous about deep waters and kayaking for the first time, here’s hoping tandems make it a bit easier.

    Excellent photos!

  • Lou: I had never kayaked before and was nervous about it too, but felt safe when I was in the kayak. The tandems are nice and our guide said we would have to work hard to tip it, so not to worry. I really want to do this again! Enjoy the San Juans!