Category Archives: Writing

James Island – Sentinel of the San Juan Islands

Standing guard at the entrance to the San Juan Islands, south of Thatcher Pass, is James Island. For several years, we confused James Island with Jones Island, another marine state park near Deer Harbor on Orcas Island unless we consulted a … Continue reading

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Burrows Island – A Lighthouse-Saving Mission

Threading our way through Deception Pass at slack tide and motoring north past Anacortes, WA, I was surprised to glance up and find an historic light station perched on the southwest corner of Burrows Island. From Skyline Marina, I can … Continue reading

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Allan Island – Two Talented Owners

Exiting Deception Pass aboard a 16-foot Safeboat, we skirted Allan Island on a day trip to circumnavigate Fidalgo Island, home of Anacortes. This small town with its several marinas is known as the “gateway” to the San Juan Islands.  Allan … Continue reading

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Jones Island – A Favorite of Campers

One of the best things about the San Juan Islands are the number of marine state parks that can be visited by marine craft, self-propelled or driven by an inboard/outboard engine. The island is remote enough to keep the less … Continue reading

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Center Island – Oysters Anyone?

“You have a cabin?” I asked our remedial reading assistant in the school district where I taught grades K-5. She replied, “On Center Island in Lopez Sound.” Being the informed sailor I am, I needed to consult one of our … Continue reading

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Bell Island – A Fairy-Tale Paradise

Curiosity is my middle name. A few years ago, Bell Island, an approximately four-square-mile island located in Wasp Passage sprouted a new timber-framed “castle” on its south shore. Its appearance prompted me to imagine what it’d be like to live … Continue reading

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Johns Island – Home of Camp Nor’wester

We sped across Spieden Channel from Roche Harbor in our inflatable, eager to hike the trail to Turn Point Lighthouse on Stuart Island. Warm sunshine and calm wind beckoned us across the smooth water. Above the roar of the Suzuki … Continue reading

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Spieden Island or Safari Island?

Exotic big game animals and birds in the American San Juan Islands of Washington State? Visitors passing Spieden Island on a Washington State ferry on their way to Sidney, British Columbia, Canada from Anacortes or travelling by private boat are … Continue reading

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Yellow Island – A Sea of Flowers

An artist’s dream! Two friends and I signed up for a watercolor painting workshop held in the spring on Orcas Island. Each morning, our instructor taught us a specific technique before leading us on a fieldtrip to practice our new … Continue reading

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Blind Island – Hiding in Plain Sight

Why would anyone name an island, visible from the sea on all sides, Blind Island? I don’t have an answer. But as a mariner, I always enter Blind Bay with my eyes open!

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