This trip is rated Moderate . Beginners are welcome - it is not necessary to be an experienced kayaker although it is beneficial to have had some previous kayaking or canoeing experience (prior camping experience is also a plus but not mandatory). You should be at ease in a small boat on the open water and know how to swim. A typical day will consist of 3-4 hours of activity (paddling or hiking) with occasional breaks for sightseeing, wildlife viewing and meals. Participants should come equipped with a spirit of adventure and willingness to pitch-in and help with camp chores when necessary.
Our trip begins today in Friday Harbor, Washington, located in the San Juan Islands archipelago. Meet your guides and fellow travelers at 12pm at a park next to the Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal. We transfer to Roche Harbor for lunch, followed by a kayak trip to take in the sights along the northern tip of the island. We learn how everything in the islands is interconnected, from kelp to jellyfish, seals to orca whales. Watch for seals, shorebirds, porpoise and more as we get a feel for paddling. After our introductory paddle, we return to Roche Harbor and get outfitted with bikes and helmets for the next day’s excursion to Orcas Island. We then check into our comfortable canvas tent cabins at Lakedale Resort. Tonight’s dinner, made with locally sourced ingredients, in prepared by our guides. Lunch and dinner included.
Sea Kayaking: 5 miles (3 hours) on open water with waves, tides, currents.
We have an early start to ferry from Friday Harbor to Orcas Island. Our support van, with bikes loaded on the trailer, accompanies us. Today we cycle to the Eastern Lobe of Orcas Island, following a route that meanders through Crow Valley, past family farms and tidy orchards. Depending on timing and weather, we have lunch in Eastsound or at Cascade Lake in Moran State Park. From Cascade Lake, ambitious riders may choose to bike to the summit of Mount Constitution (2,409’), the highest point the San Juan Islands. At the top, we enjoy 360-degree views of the surrounding islands from a stone watchtower. Returning to San Juan Island by ferry, we transfer to Lakedale for dinner and discuss preparations for our kayaking trip to Stuart Island. All meals included.
Cycling: 13-15 miles. Optional ride up Mt. Constitution (no option to ride down): 5.4 miles, up to 15% grade, 2000’ climb. Paved roads with some rolling hills and one very steep section.
Following breakfast, we transfer to Roche Harbor, pack our dry bags into tandem kayaks and begin our paddling trip to Stuart Island. We head into Spieden Channel to explore the shorelines of Spieden and Sentinal Islands before reaching Stuart Island. We set up camp at Marine State Park, which has primitive sites with picnic tables, fire pits and composting toilets. There is time to relax in camp, or we stretch our legs on a hike to Turn Point Lighthouse. This is among the most scenic overlooks in the Pacific Northwest! The guides prepare dinner and share the history of the area over a campfire. All meals included.
Sea Kayaking: 7-10 miles (4-5 hours) on open water with waves, tides, currents. Hiking: 5 miles (3 hours).
We pack our gear into our kayaks, then paddle across Spieden Channel towards the north side of San Juan Island. We watch for eagles, seals, porpoise and orca whales; much of the saltwater and shoreline in the islands is a protected wildlife refuge so sightings of birds and mammals is a regular occurrence. Following the coastline, we peer into tide pools to find invertebrate and plant life. A picnic lunch on a remote beach provides fuel for our return to Roche Harbor. Arriving in the mid-afternoon, we unpack our kayaks and transfer to Lakedale Resort. The next two nights are spent in log cabins, or we stay in rooms at the lodge. The guides prepare another outstanding dinner. All meals included.
Sea Kayaking: 10-12 miles (4-6 hours) on open water with waves, tides, currents.
We board one of the most environmentally friendly boats in the islands to view the diverse marine life that surrounds us. In the company of an expert naturalist we look for orca whales, humpbacks, porpoises and more. Anyone not wishing to go on the whale watching tour can join the guides for a scenic hike around Mt. Finlayson and Jakle’s Lagoon. The trail, located on the southern tip of San Juan Island, meanders through grasslands and forests of Douglas fir, hemlock and cedar to the driftwood covered beaches of the lagoon. After the hike or whale watching cruise, we reconvene for a tour of some very special local farms to learn about sustainable agriculture in the islands, how to raise Alpacas for wool, and how to cultivate fragrant lavender. Returning to Lakedale, we enjoy dinner and an evening of relaxation. All meals included.
Boat cruise (4 hours) or hiking 3-5 miles (2-4 hours).
Packing up, we transfer to Roche Harbor for a sea kayaking excursion around Henry Island to English Camp on San Juan Island. English Camp is a National Historic Park, created after the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war over possession of San Juan Island in 1859, the crisis ignited by the death of a pig. Those not wishing to kayak can hike with a guide up Mount Young (646’) to enjoy views of Vancouver Island, the Olympic range and the Gulf Islands. Continuing the hike we reach English Camp, where we gather as a group for a picnic lunch. The trip concludes with a transfer to the Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal. We plan to arrive by 4pm. Departures by float plane or ferry can be booked for any time after 5pm. Breakfast and lunch included.
Sea Kayaking: 4-6 miles (2-4 hours) on open water with waves, tides, currents. Hiking: 3 miles (2-3 hours) with 600' elevation gain/loss.