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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Doe Island

Doe Island - Cypress Head overnight paddle

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • We took the conventional route launching from Washington Park at the start of the flood on Rosario Strait. Since Guemes channel current is running East on flood, we set the heading toward James Island (approximately 270° magnetic N)until we clear Guemes Channel then head for Strawberry Island. We took a break there, then ride the eddies on the South end of Strawberry Island, head for Lydia Shoal.  When we heard the gong on Lydia Shoal buoy we start heading NE toward Doe Island. We were paddling at 7 kt up to then riding the Rosario flood current. We have to be careful not to miss  Doe Island since Peapod current was running 3 kt. Landing and launching at Doe Island is best when tide is 5 ft or higher at Tide Point on Cypress Island.

    The next morning we started early, 6:30 AM launch time and paddled along the shore of Orcas toward Lawrence Point. Although Peapod rock current is ebbing  (SW direction)  at 5 kt we have enough back eddies near the shore and no problems heading NW. The fog was so thick when we plan to cross Rosario strait that we waited till 9:00 AM on the shore near Lawrence Point before crossing. We did not want to miss the ebb on Rosario strait , so we used GPS tracking toward Sinclair. We took a conservative angle  crossing the eddy line at Lawrence Point.  Once the fog lifted and we could see Sinclair the rest of the route was clear toward Cypress Head. To land and launch at Cypress Head is best when tide at Ship Harbor is 2 feet or higher.

    There is  an eddyline when Bellingham Channel current is ebbing on the North side of Cypress Head. We took the advantage of  riding the eddy line which took us to the West side of Guemes Island. We continued to ride the current to Yellow Bluff and gather there before  crossing Guemes Channel. From Yellow Bluff we ferried to get to just East of the San Juan ferry dock. We waited there until we  had a chance to paddle across the ferry lanes and head back to Washington Park.

This trip is most fun and challenging at the same time, when it is done on a full moon, when tidal range is large which produces strong currents, eddies and tidal race. You can park overnight at Washington Park for $9,00/night/vehicle.  Campsites at Doe Island is limited, so best to have small group (6).  We were lucky that there was no wind, but fog kept us on our toes.