Cypress Island Circumnavigation

July 7 - July 8, 2018

Party: Aaron Nash, Kala Zimmermann-Keck, Kaylyn Messer


We've been looking for any excuse to get back to the San Juan Islands for another kayak trip.  With limited time, we looked at overnight trip options with a launch from Anacortes. By not having to worry about ferry line queues, we were able to use our two days to circumnavigate Cypress Island.

We set out from Anacortes and crossed Guemes Channel with very little boat traffic.  The tides were small and the currents minimal so we were able to make the crossing in good time.  Once we reached Guemes Island, we followed the coastline eyeing some beautiful beach homes and stunning sandy cliffs.   

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We were able to ride a little movement in the water across Bellingham Channel, our largest crossing of the trip at a little over one mile.  Calm and sheltered waters greeted us along Cypress Island for an easy paddle in perfect weather.  

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 Cypress Head Campground - A beautiful lunch spot. 

Cypress Head Campground - A beautiful lunch spot. 

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 Happy Trees.  As we paddled between Cypress Head and Pelican Bay we were amazed at the uniformity of the forest.  We felt Bob Ross would have enjoyed painting such happy little tress and clouds.  

Happy Trees.  As we paddled between Cypress Head and Pelican Bay we were amazed at the uniformity of the forest.  We felt Bob Ross would have enjoyed painting such happy little tress and clouds.  

 Cone Islands

Cone Islands

 Pelican Bay Campground

Pelican Bay Campground

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After reaching Pelican Bay Campground we found a spot to pitch our tents, relax for a nap, stretch out legs on a short hike, and prepare dinner.  The water was so glassy and calm come evening, that Aaron suggested a sunset paddle.  We slipped into our boats and paddled out for an absolutely stunning paddle.  The sun dipped below the horizon turning the soft warm orange glow to cool pastel hues. 

As we settled in for the evening, we watched some distant fireworks across the water.  The latent sounds of the mid-week holiday.  

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Banana Slug Sunrise, a truly perfect way to start the day in the San Juan Islands.  We set out to finish our circumnavigation by repeating the section of our evening paddle to the north tip of Cypress Island.  As we crossed to the West side of the island we were amazed to see a large group of fishing boats in Rosario Strait.

Ochre sea stars appeared in bright flashes as the waves hit and pulled away from the rocky point.  We watched a few bald eagles fly from the cliff edges and saw river otters run and swim along the kelp line. 

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Faster currents formed around Strawberry Island for a few hundred yards as we approached the protected cove where we stopped for a quick break prior to circling the island and beginning our crossings back to Anacortes.  We encountered a little current at the southern tip of Cypress Island where a thick eddy line pitched up some confused waves before the water transitioned to a series of small wakes from the increased Sunday boat traffic.  We watched the crossing carefully to determine drift and adjusted our speed to accommodate a few fast boats  We completed the trip in good time and great spirits. 

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