The San Juan Islands Kayak Trip left Portland early Friday morning and will include a tour of the islands over the next four beautiful days. The trip develops kayaking skills, teaches about local tides and currents, provides delicious, cooked meals, and most importanlty is a blast.
Friday was an early morning getting ready to hit the road around 6 a.m. in the trusty old Tacoma, aka "The Chariot of the San Juans." Us Oregonians sometimes get a kick out pumping our own gas instead of handing off your card out the window...
Stopping at Penguin Coffee is a must as it is the staple coffee shop in Anacortes. Plus we have to wake up all the sleepy passengers and get them ready for the beautiful ferry ride.
After our coffee break, we cruised over to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal to wait for our next mode of transportation. The Ferry ride is breathtaking as it winds through Decatur Island, Blakely Island, and many other sceninc spots en route to our final stop.
The wildlife in the San Juan Islands is unparalled and it is not rare to see whales, sea lions, various types of birds, and much more marine life. Not too long into the trip we spotted some Plumose Anemone; these Anemones can amazingly clone themselves by breaking off a part of their foot which develop into tiny Anemones with the same color and genetic makeup.
We also spotted a Nudibranch that was still in the larvae stage. There are copious types of Nudibranch that flourish into an array of beautiful colors.
Once we made it to the harbor, we met up with Greg and partner guide Jen from San Juan Outfitters. They were gracious enough to help us out with lunch and even offer a hand with the dishes; thanks guys you're the best!
After a good lunch it was time to load up the boats. We pack in all of our gear, camping supplies, and of course the delectable Fort George/Next Adventure Black IPA. The setting and weather are perfect; the backdrop of the San Juan Harbor is post card-esque.
Day 2, Satuday July 26:
The second day of our journey through the San Juan Islands was beautiful yet again. We started the morning out by tearing down camp and getting ready to move on to our next campsite. The low tide in the morning made for some great wildlife viewing (one of the best parts of the trip).
The wildlife was out in full force in the morning; from left to right we have a burrowing sea cucumber, a baby sea cucumber and feather duster tube worms, and a purple ochre star with sea star wasting syndrome. Sea star wasting syndrome
is a crippling disease disease that has no identifiable cause and is unfortunately decimating the sea star population.
Saturday continued to be beaufiful and provided many scenic views from the water. Roaming around on the beach led us to this downed tree covered in acorn barnacles (note the artsy pic). There was also some evidence on our boats from unexpected nighttime visitors, but they were just some hungry raccoons scoping for some snacks.
We all took a lap around the state park and collected litter lying around; it is always responsible to use leave no trace ethics when in the outdoors. After cleaning up, we were all ready to hit the water again! Spirits are up and everyone is stoked for the next couple of days!
As day 2 was winding down, everyone relaxed and tuned into the beautiful sunset from Jones Island.
Everyone has been in great spirits and all around psyched for the tours, so we packed up yet again and prepared for a low tide adventure around the Wasp Islands. We ended up stumbling upon some beautiful hooker's onion plants the Yellow Island Wildlife Preserve; we left our mark on Yellow Island as all the guests signed the directory managed by the Wildlife Preserve.
Stomping around mroe of Yellow Island led us to this beautiful prairie stocked with Madrona Trees. These trees have a reddish bark that naturally peels off and the bottom layer is cool to the touch. They are mostly native to the Pacific Northwest along the coastline, but stretch somewhat south to Northern California. We also found the tribute on the island to the Dodd family who originally owned the island and ended up selling the land to the Conservatory in 1980.
After our tour around Yellow Island, the crew paddled to Deer Harbor for lunch where we ended up finding some sea glass. Sea glass is formed when regular glass is continually tossd around in salt water until the rough edges are sanded down and it acquires more of a frosted appearance.
Paddling and exploring all day sure takes it out of you, so everyone enjoyed a calm fire on our last night. My home away from home has been the magnificent Mountain Hardwear Ultralight Tent with Sea Line and Sea to Summit dry bags to keep my gear out of the elements.
The next morning we paddled to Roche Harbor which will be our final destination. Again, the views on the ferry ride home are absolutely stunning. I want to thank everyone who came out and everone who helped make this trip a huge success. We look forward to doing it agian soon!
To learn more about the San Juan Islands Kayak Trip or to register for the upcoming trip, follow the link below: