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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - San Juan Islands Archipelago

Good trip along a sparsely visiting coastline.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Weather was pretty good, partly cloudy, we have a moderate wind assisting us on Saturday, but was against us Sunday. Campsites at Pt Doughty were nice. There are 3 campsites with picnic tables at Pt Doughty, although the water trails site only says one. To get to the dock at orcas, there is a sharp corner that you can't wheel boats around, so you need to lift the boats. They change the dock configuration, it now just has one straight doc and not an L shape second dock. The doc in about 2.5 ft above the water, so best if someone steadies your boat while getting in.

    One ferry was out of service sunday, so they changed things around, and the other ones followed different schedules, so it was hard to figure out what was going on. A ferry did leave around our planned time though so that worked ok.
    We pulled out boats up the ramp to try to be ready, then the ferry took longer then expected to unload, so we were holding our boats on the ramp for quite while. In hindsight we should have just waited at the bottom of the ramp down. When loading at orcas, if they let you, it is better to go out in the road and onto the ferry, rather then trying to stay in the pedestrian  line.

    Back at the cars, one car had a nail in their tire, fortunately another participant had a pump, we pumped it, drove to the auto parts store to buy a patch kit and were able to fit it. Make sure at least you have a spare tire and equipment to change a tire if needed.

    I think 2 days is to short a time for carrying on boats to the San Jauns, next time I would do 3 days minimum so you have more time to enjoy it.

The ferry was running a 45 minutes late, but no problems getting on it. We launched and made our way to Pt Doughty, stopping once for lunch on the way on a spit about half way up the west coast of Orcas. When we arrived and camp there were 2 groups so were a bit worried, but one was just a day trip (there is room for 3 after all). The sunset was unfortunately muted by clouds. On sunday the wind was blowing about 10-12 against us so we went back the same way, instead of going around Waldron. With wind and current it took about about twice the amount of time to return as to go out the previous day. We made the ferry and had time to get a smack at the store at orcas landing.