Jones, Flattop and the Wasp Islands
July 26th – 28th 2022
A really, really pretty place out in the San Juans is the Wasp Islands!
We launched from West Beach Resort on Orcas, which charges a small fee to launch and park overnight but at least you know your vehicle is secure, plus knowing there’s an ice cream sandwich when you return at their store waiting for you is always a pleasant way to end a trip.
We ventured out into the President Channel and rode a nice ebb of nearly 3 knots right down the middle to Flattop Island, which is on the way to exactly nothing. We set a goal sometime back to kayak around every named island in the San Juans, so no matter how far removed or out of the way once you get started on a goal like that you start making the effort to get out to the far away ones you’d have no real reason to visit. Lots of seals, bald eagles and possibly a golden eagle. Some of the coolest geology on the islands cliff faces I’ve seen in the San Juans. Made our way to Jones Island that night which has a couple really nice campsites, about 3 miles of hiking trails and running water.
Next day we made a journey over to Deer Harbor, and then through Pole Pass and Wasp Pass, visiting a number of the Wasp Islands until we got to Yellow Island, which was a real treat. Some hiking, flowers in bloom and seals hauled out on the beaches made it worth the visit alone, but the cool thing was the caretakers cabin built in the 1800’s with drift wood, trees milled on site and reclaimed parts of wooden ships. The fireplace reminded me of an Adirondack style lodge fireplace with a bedrock hearth, massive in scale and made from cobblestones. Porthole covers as windows, floorboards from ship planks and old hemp rope used to construct the cabin, there were little details everywhere for those interested in that sort of thing.
On our last day we eddy hopped against the current back up the west side of Orcas and found an actual message in the bottle! Check out pics of our paddle, the Yellow Island cabin and the message in the bottle from Aubrey in the pics below.