kayak: Orcas Island & Sucia Island multi-day guided trip

On this guided multi-day kayaking trip, we paddled from Orcas Island to Sucia Island where we camped for two nights and kayaked around the islands.

ITINERARY

  • Day 1: drive to Anacortes to take Washington Ferry to Orcas Island; camp at Moran State Park
  • Day 2: meet kayak guide for paddle to Sucia Island
  • Day 3: kayak around Sucia Island
  • Day 4: kayak back to Orcas Island; ferry to Anacortes; drive back to Portland

TRIP PLANNING

Day 1

To begin our trip, our group of six left Portland at 8:00am and drove to Anacortes to catch the 3:45pm ferry.

I really enjoyed the ferry ride… the scenery is incredible as the ferry takes you on a route by several islands before a stop at Shaw Island, then continues across the channel to Orcas Island. After an just over an hour on the ferry, we arrived at the terminal.

Washington State Ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island

We needed to meet our guide for the kayaking trip the next morning, so we camped on Orcas Island at the Moran State Park campground for one night.

Moran State Park campground at night

Day 2

In the morning, we packed up our camping gear and drove to meet our kayaking guide at North Beach on Orcas Island.

Orcas Island – Moran State Park campground at sunrise

We met up with our guide and began preparation for our journey. This included moving the kayaks to the shore and loading them with all of the gear we would need for camping two nights. The hatches on the kayaks can hold quite a bit of gear! We were all in tandem sea kayaks, except for our guide, who had a single sea kayak.

multi-day kayak trip preparation

Once we were all loaded up, we launched and began our paddle to Point Doughty on Orcas Island.

 kayaking at Orcas Island kayaking to Point Doughty

At Point Doughty, we stopped for a lunch break and spent some time taking in the views from the end of the point.

taking a break at Point DoughtyLisa at Point Doughtyview from Point Doughty on Orcas Island

After lunch, we began our kayaking route to Sucia Island. The water was very calm, which made our trek across the channel not too difficult. At the end of our trip when we had to cross it again, the conditions were quite different!

I didn’t take photos during our crossing since it took effort to paddle the currents as we crossed the channel. Once we entered Fox Cove at Sucia Island, the paddling was much easier.

kayaking to Fox Cove on Sucia Island

We reached the shore and unloaded the kayaks, then set up camp and explored a bit of the island.

campsite on Sucia Island at Fox Cove exploring Sucia Island Fossil Bay on Sucia Island

This was a fully catered kayaking trip with Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures, so all of the meals were prepared for us by our guide… and all of them were quite tasty! On our first night, we had shrimp tacos. Mmm.

guided kayaking trip dinner sunset at Fox Cove

After dinner, we relaxed by the shore and watched the sunset, which lasted for several hours.

sunset on Sucia Island at Fox Cove

Day 3

Sunrise in the morning was pretty, with yellow and orange colors lighting up the sky.

sunrise view of Orcas Island from Sucia Island

After breakfast, we began our paddle around Sucia Island.

Sucia Island kayaking tour

The sandstone formations on the island are fascinating. Our guide told us that certain types of algae have a role in the way these rocks are worn by the waves.

Sucia Island kayaking tourSucia Island kayaking tourSucia Island kayaking tourSucia Island kayaking tour

When we reached the north side of the island, we could see starfish clinging to the sides of cliffs at low tide. While we were in this area, our guide harvested bull kelp to make a seaweed salad for our dinner. She also gathered sea lettuce from the walls for us to sample… the taste was mild, and salty. 🙂

Sucia Island kayaking tour - tidepoolsSucia Island kayaking tour - Ewing Bay

When we reached Echo Bay, we stopped for a lunch break. While I was sitting at the picnic table, I was stung by a yellow jacket four times on my foot. The yellow jacket had gotten stuck in the opening on my sandal and kept stinging until I was able to get the sandal off. Five minutes later, I got another sting on the back of the same foot. This was a painful experience that definitely had an impact on the rest of my trip. 🙁

Sucia Island kayaking tour - Echo Bay

Back at camp, we had another great dinner… crispy tofu bowl with seaweed salad. Yum!

catered kayak trip meal - crispy tofu bowl

Sunset on our last night. My foot was swollen and continued to sting with pain, making walking around a challenge so I went to bed early.

sunset at Fox Cove on Sucia Island

Day 4

In the morning as we were packing up to leave, a seaplane flew in to pick up a group of their employees camping on the island.

seaplane in Fox Cove on Sucia IslandSucia Island kayaking group

Our kayaking trip back across the channel to Orcas was much more challenging since we had to paddle against the current in strong winds. The water was choppy with big waves and it seemed like we’d never make it across. But with a lot of effort, we did.

Sucia Islandphoto: Julie A.

On Orcas Island, we caught the ferry back to Anacortes and began the long drive home. I loved the time I spent surrounded by the beauty of these Pacific Northwest islands in the Salish Sea… and I hope to return soon.

Orcas Island ferry terminal