One of the great aspects of living in an outdoor destination like Orcas Island is that people of all ages love to visit. There are so many fun things to do here that even teens who are normally glued to the virtual world of their smartphones and other gadgets find enough real life adventure to stay entertained.
In mid August my father-in-law and 16-year-old niece trekked out from back east to see us. Bob and I took the opportunity to unplug and enjoy a vacation in our own backyard. We packed a month’s worth of activities into a week, ate fresh-caught seafood almost every night and were reminded all over again why we chose to live in this far out northwest paradise. Our family photo album tells the story – click a photo to start the slideshow:
The adventure begins by arriving on a seaplane painted like an orca whale.
Day 1 starts with a boat ride to see whales. This J-pod male was cruising with his mates off Stuart Island.
We saw the most whales we’d ever seen at one time – including three lively calves.
On our cruise home we stopped to fish for the night’s dinner: pink salmon.
The one that got away!
Mid August is blackberry season. Each afternoon we picked fresh berries to enjoy on our ice cream. Yum!
Throughout the week we caught delicious Dungeness Crab to enjoy fresh out of the pot, in crab cakes and crab salad wraps.
Plus we feasted on the “lobster of the northwest”: Spot Shrimp, locally called Prawns.
Lots of them!
Our terrestrial activities included a hike up Turtleback Mountain.
This scenic overlook on Turtleback Mountain made the perfect place for a picnic lunch.
The Saturday Farmer’s Market was an ideal place to pick up island-made souvenirs for the folks back home.
Meg piloted the dinghy to nearby Crane Island where we borrowed two kayaks.
Our kayaking adventures included scenic Mountain Lake. It was as peaceful as I’d always imagined.
After beaching the kayaks for snack time, we took a brisk dip in Mountain Lake. Brrr!
Every night we were treated to a spectacular summer sunset. This one took first place.
A last paddle on President Channel completes the perfect vacation.
If this type of adventurous lifestyle appeals to you, I’d love to help you make it a reality. I specialize in helping people in all phases of life move to Orcas Island. Contact me and let’s begin!
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The forecast was calling for record high temperatures (a whopping 75 degrees here) so Jay and I packed the boat and headed out onto the water. Our destination was Stuart Island, west of Orcas near the Canadian border.
On this trip, I could mix business with pleasure as clients of mine own a large parcel on Stuart Island and had hired Permit Resources to permit a dock and a residence. It’s not often that I get to see the finished project — this looked like a good opportunity to do just that.
We located the dock built by our Permit Resources client.
Stuart has two harbors, Reid Harbor on the south side and Prevost Harbor on the north side. Both harbors provide easy anchorage, state mooring buoys, mooring cables and floats. There is a County dock located in Prevost Harbor. Stuart Island State Park lies between these two harbors and the park is easily accessible via public docks.
We hiked up the road amid lush vegetation.
The 85-acre marine state park allows for camping and provides miles of trails and county roadway for exploring. Keep in mind, there are vehicles parked at the county road end in Reid Harbor, but the road is nothing more than a wide gravel trail.
A hidden cove in Reid Harbor.
The environment is lush with a variety of native fir, maple, madrona, moss-covered rock outcroppings and hidden coves. A short hike will take you to the schoolhouse and museum where you will find the walls covered with history. There is an honor system for souvenirs where you can purchase T-shirts, cards and books.
As I viewed the photos of school children from the early days, I wondered about the kind of cast iron constitution it must have taken to stand strong to the challenges of living in a remote island in the northwest.
We sailed around Turn Point Lighthouse and Lover’s Leap.
If you are a hardy hiker and make it to the north end, you will discover Turn Point Lighthouse where the shipping lanes of Boundary Pass and Haro Strait meet. We skipped the hike and circumnavigated Stuart on the sailboat, where we had a great view of the lighthouse.
A welcoming view of Prevost Harbor.
There is plenty to do on Stuart Island. We tried our luck at crabbing, clam digging and beach combing. All we can think about is: when can we return?
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