Sucia Island Paddle 2011
Paddling to Sucia via Spencer Spit, and Jones Island
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tides and currents for the area you are paddling in!
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Beach next to Guemes Ferry Dock
||Echo Bay Sucia Island
Sucia Island State Park is a 564-acre marine park and is considered
the crown jewel in Washington's marine park system. It is
consistently ranked as one of the top boating destinations in the
world. Sucia Island and several smaller islands comprise the "Sucia
group." Sucia Island is one of the the northern most
Islands in the San Juan's, only Patos is further north . The island
is horseshoe shaped and approximately 2.2 miles north of Orcas
Island. There are 60 campsites on the island. Our plan is to spend 3
days at Sucia paddling the local waters. We picked an extended
paddle route to reach Sucia which also allowed us to circumnavigate
Day 1 We meet at the Guemes
Island Ferry Dock and load our boats on the beach just to west of
the dock. We are crossing the Guemes Channel and heading west
toward the Bellingham Channel and crossed to south end of Cypress
Island heading along the island to Strawberry Island located on the
west side of Cypress. Strawberry was WWTA site but was closed
by the state for budget reasons. You can still take a break
there before crossing Rosario Strait. Please note you are
crossing 3 channels that all have strong flow associated with them,
be sure to check your current charts before going. Departing
Strawberry we make for Thatcher Pass and our 1st days destination
Spencer Spit State Park. We are treated to some light rain that
evening, luckily there is a nice shelter there where we cook and eat
Day 2 We pack up and head out
paddling north along Lopez Island we round Upright Head and cross
over to Shaw Island. Our initial destination is Blind Island
for a rest stop. The weather has been nice and sunny. We are
soon ready to depart and head for Jones Island we'll be continuing
west in Harney Channel we paddling through Wasp Passage, we cross
over to Crane Island and once reaching the end of it we head north
through the Wasp Islands on to the west side of Jones Island State
Park. Jones is a popular kayaking destination, there are
2 WWTA camp sites and several regular state parks sites. We
are the only ones here and enjoy a spectacular sunset. Be sure
to check the current charts when paddling this leg, Wasp
Passage and Pole Pass can have strong currents during max flow.
Day 3 We are up early, we have a long
15.5 mile paddle planned. We head north around Jones and cross
over to the west side of Orcas Island. The weather is good
with sunny skies. We paddle up the coast watching bald eagles
and variety of other birds. The coast line is a very rocky
with minimal places to stop and stretch, especially at the south
end. It takes us about 3 hours to reach Point Doughy at the
north end of Orcas. We turn east here along the coast and
paddle for a 1.5 miles before north again to make the
crossing. About 3/4 of mile into the crossing we start feeling
a wind coming out of East Sound on Orcas and we soon are paddling in
1-2' wind driven waves. We paddle the remainder of the 2.2
mile crossing paddling the waves and winds. We are all beat
when we reach Sucia Island and get some shelter from the wind.
The rest of the paddle into Echo Bay is uneventful. We
are happy to be on the beach and setting up our camps.
Day 4 & 5 We stayed on Sucia. We had
planned day trips to Matia and Patos Islands but the win continued
to blow making fr some rough seas we opt to do a circumnavigation of
Sucia Instead staying close in to avoid the worst of the wind.
Day 6 It's time to go! We have
enjoyed our stay even though it has been unseasonably chilly in the
evenings. The camp fires helped! The plan for today is
to paddle to Clark Island. This is a 12 mile paddle. The
Marine Forecast is good with only light winds forecast. We
start out and head across to Orcas Island and then paddle along the
north shore. Once we get close to Barnes Island we paddle
across to the south end and then cross to Clark Island. The
camp sites are on the east side of the island about mid-point.
We are soon ashore and have our camp setup.
It s a great morning, sunny and clear skies and totally calm.
We pack up and leave Clark by 9-9:30 and paddle south along the
shore crossing over to the Sister Islands and then start the
crossing. The weather and water is so calm that we decide to
make a straight shot for Pelican Beach, this is a 5+ mile
crossing. You should only do this is the conditions, weather
and current and all in your favor. It's a long crossing..
but after a couple of hours we reach Cyprus Island and Pelican Beach
on the north end of the island. Cypress is a DNR site and has
2 camping areas on it, the other is at Cypress Head, also on the
north side of the island. It's our last night of camping.
Day 8 We pack up and head back to the Guemes Ferry Dock.
We paddle south along Cypress until we reach the small islands
between Cypress and Guemes. We cross over to Guemes and paddle
along the south shore until we reach Guemes Channel, we have timed
it so that we reach the channel with a 2.2 kt current pushing us
toward the Ferry Dock and it's an easy paddle in. The Channel
as usual is choppy from boat traffic and the current but not bad.
A good trip!
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