Obstruction Island sits between the southeast tip of Orcas Island and Blakely Island. Because of its position, the waters around the island can be somewhat calmer than other areas of the San Juan Islands, as strong winds are blocked by land. At 218 acres, Obstruction Island is one of the 20 largest islands among the more than 170 islands that make up the San Juans.
While 218 acres doesn’t make for an especially large island, Obstruction Island isn’t lacking attractions for a paddling trip. The island is a short paddle from Obstruction Pass Beach. Circumnavigating the island, you’ll see seals, seabirds, passing yachts, and numerous unique houses along the shoreline. Also along the shoreline, there are a number of small beaches where you can land.
Obstruction Island was named by the commander of the United States Exploring Expedition, Charles Wilkes, in the 1840s. He bestowed the name on the island because he believed it was an “obstruction” for what would otherwise be a good passageway for larger ships on the south end of Orcas Island.