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  • Radford Bean

Four-Day Kayaking Expedition in the San Juan Islands - Day 2

I don't sleep well when camping, so I was up somewhat early.

Day two started out with me taking a short hike in search of wildlife. During my walk, I came across a pair of black oystercatchers on the west side of Jones Island.

After a breakfast of scrambled eggs and potatoes, we packed our kayaks for a day of paddling around the Wasp Islands. We first had to make a stop at Deer Harbor to top off our water supply. Deer Harbor is a small town on the west side of Orcas Island. On the way to Deer Harbor, we encountered many lion’s mane, moon, and egg yolk jellyfish.

After topping off our water bags and eating a snack, we headed out of Deer Harbor and followed the shoreline of Orcas Island until we got close to Crane Island.

We crossed over to Crane Island just above a narrow channel where there was a fast-flowing current. Michael went first through the current so he could show us a safe line through the current. We quickly paddled through the swirling rough water and turned into an eddy. Once out of the pull of the current, we searched for crabs and feasted on rockweed—a form of seaweed that is actually quite delicious. I'm not new to eating seaweed. In New England where I was raised, we steam lobsters in a bed of seaweed.

We paddled up the west side of Crane Island before crossing to McConnell Island and then to Little McConnell Island. Unlike most of the beaches in the San Juan Islands where we had our lunch. Most beaches in the San Juan Islands are either gravel of various sizes or rocky, which concerned me since I have a nice composite sea kayak. However, the beach separating McConnell Island from Little McConnell Island was composed of crushed shells. We had a nice lunch on Little McConnell Island of turkey-wrap sandwiches, quinoa salad, and raw vegetables.

After an hour on Little McConnell for lunch, it was time to head to Yellow Island, which is owned by the Nature Conservancy. It didn't take long to get to Yellow Island since it is relatively close to Little McConnell Island. We explored the length of the island.

We didn't see much in the way of wildlife except a pair of bald eagles on Yellow Island and a doe and her young one on Crane Island. I tried to get pictures of the deer, but something spooked them.

It was definitely warmer today owing to the fact that the morning didn't start out cloudy today like yesterday had. By the time I got back to Jones, I was hot and tired.

Michael wanted to have an early dinner so he could show us his favorite spot on Jones Island to watch the sunset. Dinner was a vegetable pasta.

While dinner was cooking, our campsite was visited by a cute little doe. I don't think she was more than a yearling. She was so adorable and was checking Dan and me out to see if we had any food to offer. We didn't, but it just so happened that our campsite was in an old orchard that had pear and apple trees. I managed to knock several pears off the tree for the doe using a big branch. I guess the pears weren't sufficient because she came over to our table in search of more food. At one point she came close enough to me that I could pet her, which I avoided doing.

After eating and washing the dishes, it was time to hike to the northern end of the island to watch the sunset. I took a detour before meeting up with Stephanie, Michael, and Dan so I could photograph a sailboat in a cove lit with late afternoon light.

While I was walking a trail out to where my three companions were at, I came across a black-tailed buck who allowed me to get fairly close to him to take his picture. With no natural enemies and no hunting allowed on the island, the deer have little to fear from the human interlopers, so they're not very skittish.

I joined my companions, and together we watched the sunset. We also spotted several harbor porpoises just off the island.

We have an early day tomorrow because we have to break camp to head to Stuart Island for our final night in the San Juan Islands, so we needed to get to bed.

Of course the marauding raccoons were out in force again, and I heard something large crashing through the woods near me. I could only surmise that it was a deer.

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