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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Northern San Juan Islands

This trip was intended to teach participants how to plan and execute a trip in the San Juan Islands. The group did several planning exercise then executed a 5 day trip. Everyone reported they learned a great deal.

  • Fri, May 27, 2016 — Tue, May 31, 2016
  • Sea Kayak - Northern San Juan Islands
  • Northern San Juan Islands
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Be careful:  conditions on the water are variable and depend greatly on conditions in the air which are them selves very changeable.  Otherwise, all waterways were found to be in good condition and clear of major obstructions to navigation.  

We planned routes around all San Juan islands.  Based on Wx forcast we chose Orcas Counter Clockwise.  

Day 1:  Park cars at Anacortes, load boats, and wheel on to ferry.  Arrive Orcas Landing and wheel off.  Public dock is just to left of ferry dock.  Orcas Whale Tours allowed us to lock up our wheels (our locks) in an out-of-the-way under-deck space.  Paddled Blind Island, Shaw Landing, then Obstruction Pass camp.  

Day 2:  Rain since midnight.  S winds to 25 knots.  Small craft advisory until 5pm.  Delay launch until 3:00 pm.  Paddled through Obstruction to Rosario and assessed.  Next days forecast continued headwinds for us.  Decided to not continue to Doe and Clark.  Pulled into strong headwind to reach Spencer Spit.  (Headwind not present next day, may or may not be there for you.  Check NOAA.)  Tired.

Day 3:  Rain ends, sky clears.  Paddle around N end Lopez, stop Odlin park, paddle to Turn island. Strong currents crossing to Turn island.  2 knot flow and standing waves between Turn Rock and Turn Island.  Likely to be there on similar tidal current.  Turn island camp very beautiful.  Arrive early afternoon and spend rest of day relaxing and exploring island.  No other kayak groups seen.  Two other parties on island arrived by motor boats.  

Day 4:  Paddle NW up San Juan channel to Jones island.  Stop Yellow island.  Very worth a visit. Arrive Jones 12:30.  Looks like a youth group in several adjscent camps.  We have nice camp on peninsula in South Bay.  Two members paddle around island, others nap.  Dinner et and island hiked.  

Day 5:  Paddle Wasp Passage, Bell island, to Orcas Landing.  Lunch.  Ferry home.

Overall, campsites were empty and good sites available.  This might have been due to bad weather at beginning of long weekend.  Were whole weekend forecast to be good we may have seen other kayakers and campers.  Still, appears to be a great time to paddle the San Juans.

Main objective of the trip, instruction, was very successful.