San Juan Islands from Anacortes


Sea Kayak - Washington Park to Friday Harbor

Washington Park to Friday Harbor

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  • *Varies*
  • Challenging
  • Mileage: 24.0 nm
  • Maximum Wind: 20 kts
  • Maximum Waves: 4 ft
  • Maximum Currents: 5 kts
  • Pace: moderate

Washington Park Boat Launch, meeting 6am. Launch 7am sharp.

    • Must have experience in strong current, tide race experience is a plus.
    • This is a long paddle, over 9 hours paddling. About 24 nm, most with current assist.  
    • Will return via the Ferry from Friday Harbor back to Anacortes.
    • More information will follow closer to the launch date. 
    • Generic description of what to expect below.



A classic one-way trip representing a serious test of paddling skills, navigation, tide and current planning, weather prediction and risk assessment. Cross Rosario Strait with a heading to compensate for the current. Depending on the route planned, exit the strait as far north as Belle Rocks or as far south as Boulder Island. If seas are already standing up crossing Rosario Strait, expect five foot breaking waves at Belle Rocks. Destinations further south will have far less chaos. Lesser tide rips exist at Bird Rocks and Kellet ledge. There is a rest beach at Watmouth Head. From there the classic route proceeds around the south end of Lopez Island with shelter and rest points in a series of small bays. Expect a counter current on this stretch even while the adjacent currents indicate ebb. On the north side of Iceberg Point on the southwest end of Lopez eat lunch and wait for the flood to build. From Iceberg Point one can traverse cattle pass and find turbulent water by Whale Rocks, or play in the standing waves off Davis Point. Conditions are far calmer on the east side of Deadman's Island. After kayaking through Cattle Pass, ride the current to Turn Island and on into Friday Harbor. Rosario Strait and Cattle Pass both have the potential to be very rough. A swell coming from the southwest will produce breaking waves along the south end of Lopez. The traditional return trip uses wheels to roll onto the ferry and return (free) to Anacortes. It is only a 1.5mile walk from the Anacortes ferry terminal back to Washington Park, or stage one car at the Anacortes ferry terminal (fee) and shuttle back.


San Juan Islands from Anacortes

  • Rosario Strait & Bellingham WA001

    Sea Trails Lopez, Blakely, Decatur & Shaw Islands WA002

    NOAA Bellingham to Everett No. 18423

    NOAA Strait of Juan de Fuca to Strait of Georgia No. 18421
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Wheels are required and must be stowable in the boat.

  • Preferable to have a "ditch kit" in the unforseen chance we need to overnight somewhere. 
  • tent/bothy
  • extra food
  • extra water
  • Spare clothing
  • lunch, multiple snacks
  • civilian clothes to change into at Friday Harbor
  • petty cash for  whatever
  • Pay day parking available at Washington Park.

These eight essentials plus The Ten Essentials are required on all sea kayaking trips.  All but the whistle and clothing should be provided with any kayak rental.

  1. Floatation in both ends of the kayak
  2. U.S. Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
  3. Paddle
  4. Spray skirt
  5. Bilge pump with floatation
  6. Self-rescue paddle float
  7. Waterproof whistle
  8. Appropriate clothing for the conditions encountered seasonally
Trip Reports