Sucia Island, just north of Orcas Island in the San Juan archipelago. 

Sucia Island, just north of Orcas Island in the San Juan archipelago. 

We have it pretty good here in the Pacific Northwest. Within two hours of windshield time of Seattle, one can sample a truly envious array of options in pursuit of your weekend dose of adrenaline. The North Cascades, Mount Rainier, the Pacific Ocean, the arid landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge or the wine country and alpine peaks surrounding Lake Chelan are all within reach. The list of improbable but awesome options goes on and on and on.  

This weekend some paddling friends and I are heading into the San Juan Islands in our touring surfskis. The San Juan's are a unique archipelago of islands that exist in distinct Mediterranean like climate, but despite their close proximity to the Pacific Ocean and it's seemingly endless river of moisture laden wind currents, they are in the rain shadow of Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula and have a distinct and dry landscape. Not to be mistaken for a tranquil place, the islands boast strong wind and significant currents in the perfect trifecta of the Rosario Strait, the Strait of Georgia and Strait of Juan De Fuca - collectively known as the Salish Sea. And on the outer coast lovingly referred to as the "graveyard of the Pacific" as over 700 ships and 2000 lives have been lost here. There is always something going on with the weather and water here, and it's typically on the harsh side. Our forecast calls for a little wind, in the 20mph range, which could make for a difficult exit on Sunday, but not too crazy. 

The San Juan Islands are also a tremendous place to sight whales, and there are numerous resident Orca pods. This time of year the Gray whales are also migrating through the area. High hopes! 

 

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