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Orcas Island to Sucia Island Sea Kayaking

San Juan Islands

Northern Puget Sound, Washington

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Orcas Island to Sucia Island Sea Kayaking

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  • A kayaker crosses from Orcas Island to Sucia Island at dusk.- Orcas Island to Sucia Island Sea Kayaking
  • Map view of Orcas and Sucia Islands.- Orcas Island to Sucia Island Sea Kayaking
  • The launch at North Beach.- Orcas Island to Sucia Island Sea Kayaking
  • Kayak on Orcas Island's North Beach with Matia Island in the distance.- Orcas Island to Sucia Island Sea Kayaking
  • Launching kayaks from Orcas Island on the way to Sucia Island.- Orcas Island to Sucia Island Sea Kayaking
  • A landing just off of Sucia Island with clear water and sandy beaches.- Orcas Island to Sucia Island Sea Kayaking
  • The beaches around Sucia Island.- Orcas Island to Sucia Island Sea Kayaking
  • A beached jellyfish on Sucia Island.- Orcas Island to Sucia Island Sea Kayaking
  • Sunset view from Sucia Island.- Orcas Island to Sucia Island Sea Kayaking
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Wildlife. Sandy beaches. Panoramic views.
Cons: 
Tide conditions. Changing weather. Limited visibility if foggy (not uncommon).
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Region:
Northern Puget Sound, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Site characteristics: Water: 
Sound/Strait
Motorized watercraft allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Portage required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.60 mi (4.18 km)
Water difficulty: 
Moderate / Class B
Current Local Weather:
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Paddle Description

Paddle Description

Sponsored Contributor

Just off of the northern shore of Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands is an archipelago of 10 islands. Overall, this group of islands is about 2.5 miles in length and just short of a half mile wide; the largest of this cluster is Sucia Island, which is also designated as a Washington State Marine Park. When paddling from Orcas Island to Sucia Island, it is apparent why Sucia has this designation, as wildlife is abundant and you will likely encounter a range of creatures in the sea and air.

With nice weather, Sucia Island is clearly visible from Orcas Island for the entire length of the paddling trip. It is an easy launch from North Beach to get underway to Sucia Island, and once you cross the channel, there are numerous sandy beaches on which to land for camping, lounging or just soaking up the views of the surrounding islands.

The island's name originated before 1800 with Spanish Captain Francisco de Eliza. He named it "Isla Sucia," which in Spanish means "dirty," or in a nautical context, "foul." The designation refers to the dangerous reefs and hidden rocks along the shores. However, these hidden reefs and rocks are not too treacherous for kayaks, so don’t let the name keep you from a trip through the exceptional, isolated coves and bays that the area offers.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(6 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(84 within a 30 mile radius)

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