Meeting Place & Time, Day 1: Meet at 8:30 AM downtown at the Friday Harbor ferry terminal – on the waterfront, by the large tree/stone roundabout (next to the ice cream store on corner.)
Return Place & Time, Day 4: Friday Harbor ferry terminal, 2:00 – 4:00 PM
Your guide(s) will meet you in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Our van will take the group to our put-in site on the west side of San Juan Island. After stowing all camping and personal gear, we’ll have a thorough orientation covering the fitting of the boat, paddling technique, safety, and boat handling. We won’t get on the water until everybody feels comfortable about paddling.
Day 1: On our first day we’ll work our way northward kayaking along the picturesque west side of San Juan Island. We’ll keep a sharp eye out for whales as we’re in prime Orca habitat. As we look to the south we’ll have spectacular views of the Olympic Mountain range and Vancouver Island to the west. After paddling for a couple of hours along the rocky, convoluted shores of San Juan and Henry Island we’ll stop for lunch. After we cross Spieden Channel we’ll be paddling among forested, rocky islands including Spieden, Goose and John Islands. Our destination for the night is Reid Harbor and Stuart Island, which is only accessible by boat. The campsite is nestled in a clump of red barked madronas, cedar and Douglas fir trees. After camp is set up, our evening is spent preparing food and eating dinner. Our first night’s cuisine usually includes smoked salmon fettuccine, garlic bread, locally grown organic salad greens, bottled wine and, of course, our dynamite Dutch oven apple crisp.
Day 2: We’ll do ‘le grand’ circumnavigation around Stuart Island passing by many smaller uninhabited islands. We’ll kayak past the abandoned Coast Guard lighthouse on the north side of Stuart and glide past numerous birds including great blue herons, cormorants and bald eagles. We’ll return to our campsite on Stuart for another tastefully prepared dinner. After dinner you’ll have the option of participating on an evening “bioluminescence” paddle. Bioluminescence is the emission of light from a variety of marine invertebrates and vertebrates.
Day 3: We’ll break camp, load up our kayaks and paddle to Jones Island. Enroute we paddle past Cactus (a national wildlife refuge), Johns and Spieden Islands. We then cross “Minke Lake”, so named for the Minke whales that feed in the nutrient-rich waters. Jones Island is owned by Washington State Parks and is noted for its exceptional waterfront campsites. We’ll spend our last night on Jones and, if time allows, have options of either hiking or going for another evening paddle.
Day 4: We’ll paddle south down San Juan Channel stopping at Turn Island for lunch. After lunch we’ll paddle to our take-out point on the south side of San Juan Island. We should arrive at our take-out sometime between 1-3 PM. Our van will pick us up and transport our group back to Friday Harbor. You’ll have an hour or more to poke around town before boarding the ferry to Anacortes. Or, if you are spending the night, head back to your hotel for a well deserved shower and dinner in town. Friday Harbor has a number of nice restaurants on the island that serve everything from classic Northwest fare to Thai food.
Luggage: We’ll store any luggage/gear you don’t need/want to take on your trip.
Gear Provided: Kayaks and all related gear, tent, large & small dry bags, tasteful cuisine; sleeping bag & pad are available for rent.