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Test Lab Hike–San Juan Island Kayaking, part 3 of 6

Posted by joeabbott on October 22, 2011

Day 2

image_thumb8

Kayaking - San Juan Islands 074This is the third of six parts:

Part 1: Intro

Part 2: San Juan Island to Jones Island
Part 3: Jones Island to Blind Bay and back
Part 4: Jones Island to Griffin Bay Park
Part 5: Walking tour of San Juan Island NP
Part 6: Going home

 

The picture to the left is evidence that we had raccoons visiting in the night: a perfect paw print on the back of my life vest! While we’d secured our food by hanging it in a tree, avoided leaving any in the boats, and ate at the picnic table (away from the tent), that didn’t keep the little varmints from coming about looking for extras. Fortunately, however, we were good with our food and another large group moved into the main campground area that next night. The raccoons left us alone after a first night’s prowl.

Kayaking - San Juan Islands 092Today’s agenda kept us camping at Jones Island but that didn’t stop a couple of us from seeing a larger part of the islands. Early on Dan started picking up a cold (turned out to be a sinus infection!) and Tim wasn’t feeling up for a big piece of paddling. So, in the early morning, Ron and I floated a kayak and Tim joined us for the first leg. Our destination … ah, somewhere out that way.

Kayaking - San Juan Islands 108From the map, the trip to Blind Bay looked ambitious, so I wasn’t really banking on getting that far. We were mostly looking to paddle about the Wasp Islands (of which Yellow Island is one) and then “see” about what we felt up for. Well, the currents must have been in our favor as we got to Crane Island (the largest of the Wasp Islands) in short order and, after touching base with Tim and leaving him to explore on his own, Ron and I set out for Blind Bay!

The trip out wasn’t exciting or terribly adventurous. We were passed by a couple of large ferries and contended with their wake, but aside from that, it was the occasional shore bird, a dotting of expensive houses on the shoreline, and an enjoyable bit of paddling to the Shaw Island ferry terminal.

Before beaching our craft, Ron and I paddled the circumference of mucky and stagnant Blind Bay and then pulled the boat up well before noon. We enjoyed seeing a few deer meander about the edges of “town”, admired the quaint postal drop-off board (packages with people’s names on them were left on a covered table top under a corkboard peppered with postings), and then we headed into a small store/restaurant.

One of the pressing concerns was that our camp for the last two nights of the trip was a “dry camp”; that is, no fresh water. We would only be using what we brought. So, at the store, I picked up an additional gallon of water “just to be safe”. And, as I had the mid-morning munchies, I picked up a Coke and cinnamon roll, too. Ron grabbed his chow from the boat and we enjoyed a standing snack on the docks. I did share half my roll with him, but the cola was all mine!

imageAfter that, we launched our small craft, threaded the pylons around the ferry terminal, and zipped across the Harney Channel to hug the lower Orcas Island coast on our way back west.

Our journey took us into the West Sound of Orcas Island and while we entertained a sojourn into the perilously named Massacre Bay for a look at Skull Island, we settled for a shorter trip to Victim Island. Now, Victim Island is an interesting place.

Kayaking - San Juan Islands 124Kayaking - San Juan Islands 123While I can find a number of hits for “Victim Island Washington” on my Internet search, I can find no information about Victim Island State Park! Even the mighty wikipedia comes up empty-handed! So why Victim Island is a State Park is a mystery to me … as it’s a tiny little island with no defined beach, no trails, and nothing remotely like a service, dock, or marker! It just is.

And that was fine by us.

We paddled to the Island, found a small, sheltered rocky beach, and spent another 5 minutes paddling around the shoreline looking for a better place to pull up. We found none and so we partook of the first beach we’d found, dragged our boat up, and had a proper lunch.

Kayaking - San Juan Islands 142I may be a faster eater than Ron or my morning snack (with Coke) was more substantial, but I finished before he did and “ran about the island”. Which is to say that I scaled a minor wall to the island’s interior and was able to look around and see nothing of interest. I called it quits and rejoined Ron, waiting for both of us to finish and we set out yet again.

With “exploring” in our minds, we continued to hug the shore past Caldwell Point, through Pole Pass (we looked for, and saw no, pole), and into Deer Harbor. After looking at the big bluff faces, big boats, and what seemed like busy traffic, we continued west past Fawn Island, through North Pass, and finally back to Jones Island. *phew*!

I forget if we took dinner before or after I decided on a solo paddle around Jones Island, but I took the journey in the reverse direction that Ron and I took the night before. I often see things I missed by going in reverse but this time I mostly enjoyed the paddle whispering in and out of the water, the frightful ducks madly flapping to keep their distance, or a curious gull gleaming on the shore.

Kayaking - San Juan Islands 153Kayaking - San Juan Islands 152Before the sun set, Tim, Ron and I took a walking tour of the Island. Dan had made the trek the day before so we thought to enjoy the same trails and views.

On the way I forced Tim and Ron to stop for a picture, and a more wooden duo has seldom graced an image. Tim wanted payback so he had me stand by Ron for a shot. I can’t tell if Tim is a better photographer than I am, or if he just had better material to work with.

The trails took us along the west coast of the island, up a small rise, and down into the north bay. We made camp in the south which was for non-motorized watercraft mooring; on the north they have a formal dock and better facilities. I, however, remain convinced that we had the best campsite on the island!

Kayaking - San Juan Islands 159

And so, another day ended. We followed the pattern of the night before by each finding a quiet place for drinks and reading. I missed our usual card playing but it seemed like everyone needed their rest and we had a big day coming up.

The moon rose, I read into the fading light with my little head lamp, and in spite of the close company, enjoyed a measure of solitude.

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One Response to “Test Lab Hike–San Juan Island Kayaking, part 3 of 6”

  1. Momma said

    I’m really enjoying all your photos, Joe – the beauties as well as the goofies. All your descriptives really take invisible me along on the trip. Thanks! M.

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