San Juans kayaking (Part 2), July/August 2014Part 1 - click here
On the suggestion of Agata’s former co-worker and her husband, both long-time sailors and San Juan gunkholers extraordinaire, we took the Island Express water taxi from the Skyline Marina in Anacortes across Rosario Strait to James Island State Park. Once there, we spent the rest of the day circumnavigating Decatur Island and all of the following day paddling along the southeast and rugged south shore of Lopez Island to reach Aleck Bay. Highlights include our first ever orca sighting and breach from the safety of the beach at Aleck Bay. With unexpectedly calm and glassy conditions on the return paddle, we took a direct line from Cape St. Mary to James for a ~4 mile crossing, our longest yet. Our friends then joined us at James later that afternoon and generously invited us for dinner and drinks aboard their beautiful yacht. We also joined them the next day for a tour around Blakely Island, across Rosario Strait to Cypress Island and down Bellingham Channel ending finally at the Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes. It is thanks to this tour and Dave and Pat’s patience with my incessant questions that the idea for the next trip-The San Juan Traverse-was hatched!
The Traverse – a logical next step for us, connecting the dots and filling in the blanks by linking ‘familiar’ passages, crossings and island camps on a 5-day odyssey starting from the put-in adjacent to the Guemes Island ferry terminal in Anacortes and ending at Stuart Island just shy of the border with Canada. We paddled about 60 nautical miles in total and made 8 major crossings (Guemes, Bellingham, Rosario, Lopez, Upright, Wasp, San Juan and Spieden) each of which had to be timed according to the tides, currents and wind. En route, we overnighted on Strawberry, Jones, Posey and Stuart Islands, and finished it all off by circumnavigating Stuart before our scheduled pick-up and return to Anacortes. Words and photos cannot do this trip justice and while it is easily a classic, the options for other multi-day link-ups in the San Juan’s are limited only by one’s imagination.
James & Lopez Islands:
San Juans Traverse (Anacortes to Stuart Island):