Safety is always an important consideration when kayaking. Group opportunities for kayaking with Orcas or other paddling adventures abound in the San Juan Islands — but many places aren’t recommended for the newbie or less-experienced kayaker. Tales are told of kayakers getting “whisked off to Canada” on an unexpected current.Have you done this paddle? Any other easy kayaking areas that you know of in the San Juans? Feel free to leave a comment
During a recent mother-daughter trip to Orcas Island, I wanted to find a satisfying paddle that wouldn’t land us in the water or on some other, unintended, island.
But an intended island is a good thing! Boasting that you’ve circumnavigated an entire island sounds impressive. You don’t have to reveal that the said island was only .3406 square miles. The trip, going at my leisurely pace, took just under 1.5 hours.
Obstruction Island sits in Obstruction Bay, just off the southeast part of Orcas Island, and is mostly protected from strong winds. Our day was a bit grey and windy; on sunnier days, you might see sea birds or harbor seals.
Several homes can be seen from shore. People actually live (or, perhaps, have vacation homes) on Obstruction Island, which is only accessible by boat so motorized craft is allowed. So, at times, you’ll need to watch for their wakes. Several small beach areas suitable for landing a kayak can be seen around the island if you need a rest or want to stop for a snack.
If you want to take this journey, don’t go to Obstruction Pass State Park — go there to hike, but not to launch your boat. Navigate to Orcas Island Kayaks by the Lieber Haven Marina (see map below) even if you don’t need to rent. There you’ll find a dock, a boat ramp, and a beach area — for whatever launch style floats your boat.
Kayaking Obstruction Island: Our Route
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