Kayaking Puget Sound, the San Juans, & Gulf Islands
by Rob Casey (The Mountaineers Books)
© 2012 Rob Casey/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
The eTrail or the Book are extremely helpful in navigating this sometimes tricky channel. We followed their recomendations and had easy crossings the whole trip.
Stuart Island is on the tame side of Wild, with county roads, numerous homes, and a school. The mixture of man and nature is very pleasant on this outpost isle, lending to long walks on wide lanes with no cars.
The proximity of small islands and short crossings make day trips very enjoyable. James island has one of the best beaches in all of the San Jauns.
Having never sea kayaked in the San Juans, we decided to go on a guided tour for our first trip. Our trip was 3 days (2 nights) of kayaking and camping on the island. We left from Roche Harbor and kayaked out to Stuart Island. The first day was spent getting out to Stuart. The second day we circumnavigated the island, and the third day we kayaked back to San Juan. We absolutely LOVED the paddle around the island where we saw TONS of wildlife. We even were lucky enough to have 2 whale pods cruise within 50 yards of our boats. It was absolutely amazing! We also had a great time on the island. There is an abandoned lighthouse on the edge of the island that provides a spectacular view. There is also a little school that has a couple basketball hoops if you want to squeeze in a game.
I strongly suggest, however, that you review the charts and check the weather for your trip out and back from Stuart. The rain was coming down HARD on our way back home and the current was very tough to beat, but overall we had an incredible time.
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