Kayaking the San Juan Islands with San Juan Island Outfitters Part 2

This post continues a 2 night/3 day guided kayaking trip in the San Juan Islands with San Juan Island Outfitters. See the previous post for the start of the trip.

Day 2

At Stuart State Park we woke to sunshine streaming through the tent, a soft breeze and sky streaked with thin clouds.


Clay, our guide, prepared a full cooked breakfast with sausage, fried potatoes, eggs and fruit – cantaloupe and blackberries.

Following a leisurely pack up we were on the water at 11AM. A light breeze and mild current produced a gentle paddle, weaving through the islands to our lunch destination on Little Cactus Island. Only the last part was somewhat challenging, crossing a strong current that felt like a river with us aiming way up stream to end up at the beach we wanted.

Lunch on Little Cactus Island

Clay set up lunch on a pebble beach with picturesque views of the surrounding islands and distant snowy peaks near Vancouver. We watched the fishermen drift through the strong current that passes by the island.

Lunch again was a fabulous spread with falafel, turkey, beef, pita bread, tzatziki, humus, vegies, chips and grapes.

Afternoon Paddle

After a nap on the beach we packed up for the second paddle. The good weather held for a pleasant warmish day on the water. The afternoon journey crossed more open sea with a mix of stronger currents, sometimes heading in 3 directions, and deep, still waters. In the distance we spotted sea lions lazing in the sun and an eagle flying overhead. From time to time seals pop up to say, “hello”.

We make good time and are at the campground on Jones Island at 4:30.

Camp at Jones Island

This tranquil island has camping for human and wind powered beachable watercraft on one side and other boats on the other. The wooded island has cliff views and a waking trail that circumnavigates the island. Our campsite is situated at a lovely spot to sit by the fire and watch the setting sun.

Dinner, another feast, included – cheese and crackers, apple, mango and chocolate to start followed by pasta with a veg and sausage tomato sauce and a side of asparagus.

Day 3

Despite a forecast of rain we woke to another calm morning with a light breeze.


Breakfast included scrambled eggs with asparagus and tomato, topped with pesto and goat cheese; baguette with raspberry jam and French press coffee.

Morning Paddle

After a leisurely morning we packed up and were on the water at 11AM. The currents were in our favor and swiftly took us back across the San Juan Channel to San Juan Island. The waters started off calm but were rocking as we approached San Juan Island. Clay explained the various currents that were flowing all in different directions, what to look out for and so forth; an overwhelming amount of information for a novice to absorb and make a good decision. I found it comforting that we had an experienced guide to make the decisions for us.

With the favorable conditions we made it across the channel in about 30 minutes then paddled along the north side of the island to Roche Harbor. There were sections of stiff current but nothing too difficult or that slowed us down much and we made it back to the harbor in less than two hours. We saw a few seals poke their heads out of the water including a sea lion snorting a little too close for comfort. At more than 2,000 pounds you don’t want to mess with these guys. The wildlife viewing ended with a porpoise sighting before reaching the harbor.

Lunch at Roche Harbor

Since we made such good time we opted not to stop for lunch and Clay set up a picnic for us in the park a short walk from the harbor. Another great spread with barbecue chicken, coleslaw, chips and fruit salad.

The weather turned out far better than the forecast predicted, a bright sunny afternoon instead of showers. A lovely way to end the trip.

For links to all the posts in this series see the Pacific Northwest page.

May 18-19, 2019