Canoe Island

Difficulty Beginner-Intermediate

Distance Half Day or Short Overnighter

Equipment Touring

Camping South Beach County Park and Odlin County Park

Navigation Moderate

This is a great half day adventure that gives the paddler a lot of options to shorten or lengthen the route and several excellent landings including Shaw Island Preserve, Squaw Bay, South Beach County Park, Upright Channel Recreation Site and Odlin County Park.

The Route From Lopez Kayaks, leave Fisherman Bay and head north towards Flat Point. From Flat Point it is generally recommended to circumnavigate Canoe Island in a clockwise direction unless there is a strong ebb. If crossing Upright Channel is not favorable, continue north to Upright Channel Recreation Site or further to Odlin County Park. Return the same route back to Fisherman Bay.

Precautions Upright Channel is a Washington State Ferry route and can have large vessel traffic. Strong southerly winds will make the return trip difficult and can result in large wind waves at the gap between Flat Point and Canoe Island. Tidal current can be strong on all sides of Canoe Island during  large tidal fluctuations. Vessel wakes and current eddies canalso be hazardous at this location.

Kelp Paddies

Difficulty Beginner- Intermediate

Distance 2-3 Hours

Equipment Recreational-Touring

Navigation Easiest

This is a nice out and back paddle that gets you on big water without a big time commitment. This route features spectacular views of the Olympic mountain range and occasionally big wildlife action. It can be combined with a landing at the Fisherman Bay Spit Preserve or Otis Perkins Park.

Route From Lopez Kayaks, head directly west across Fisherman Bay and then follow the shore towards the mouth of the bay. Outside the bay, head south following the shoreline. Several rocky points south of Fisherman Bay are the Kelp Paddies. Further south is a sandy beach landing at Otis Perkins Park. Return following the same route back to Fisherman Bay.

Precautions The mouth of Fisherman Bay can have strong current.  There are pier pilings and docks in the channel near the mouth that can be hazardous with strong current. Strong ebb current or a northerly wind can make the return leg difficult.

Shaw Island Circumnavigation

Difficulty Intermediate

Distance 2 Days +

Equipment Touring or Fiberglass Touring

Navigation Moderate

A circumnavigation of Shaw Island is a classic for San Juan Islands kayak camping and wildlife viewing. Almost always done in a clockwise direction this route can include camping at Turn Island, Jones Island, Blind Island, Odlin Park on Lopez Island, and South Beach on Shaw Island. There are also interesting stops at Shaw Island Preserve, Yellow Island and Northwest McConnell Rocks.

Route From Lopez Kayaks, leave Fisherman Bay and head west toward San Juan Channel. The best angle is to keep bows on Shaw Island Preserve unless heading to Turn Island. Continue around Point George and into San Juan Channel heading for Neck Point and then Yellow Island.  To Jones Island, head northwest from the Wasp Islands. Jones has three campgrounds on the south, west and north sides. Continue east into Harney passage via Wasp Passage or Pole Pass. Beyond Broken Point Blind Island begins to come into view. Continue east to Hankin Point and then south into Upright Channel. It is generally best to cross at Flat Point unless there is a flood or strong southerlies at which point crossing North of Odlin Park is more protected.

Precautions There can be large vessel traffic in all channels. Strong current is possible at Turn Island, Pt. George, the Wasp Islands and Wasp Passage, Pole Pass and Flat Point. There is large wind wave potential in San Juan Channel at any point. San Juan Channel should only be attempted during the flood on this route.

Fisherman Bay Spit Preserve

Difficulty Beginner

Distance 1-2 hours

Equipment Recreational

Navigation Easiest

This is a great little getaway for families, beginners and those short on time. Several good landings, upland adventure, and great beachcombing make for a trip that is big on sights and sounds but small on risk and preparation.

Route From Lopez Kayaks, paddle directly west across Fisherman Bay and then follow the shore towards the spit that forms the mouth of the bay. If leaving the bay head south. Return via the same route or cross the boat channel and follow the northern shore of Fisherman Bay back to the shop.

Precautions The mouth and channel of Fisherman Bay can have strong currents. There are pier pilings in the channel that can be hazardous to the unawares. Strong southerly winds combined with a strong flood current can create rough conditions just outside Islands Marine Center and Islander Lopez marinas.