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Poor reception on Orcas for paddlers | Letters
We recently spent three wonderful days kayaking in the San Juans, using our own kayaks.
Leaving Jones Island we had the option of landing in Friday Harbor or Orcas Island near the ferry.
Having started in Friday Harbor we thought Orcas Island deserved a visit. Upon arrival, we searched in vain for a pullout.
Our only choices, it seemed to us, was a log strewn beach and a long slog up a steep hill on a narrow road, or a very high, off-the-water (for a kayak) public dock.
Worse, there were small, dangerous to use emergency ladders—the only ones available. After a difficult (and dangerous) 10 minutes landing the kayaks we were presented with another problem.
At the top of the dock ramp there is a sharp 90 degree turn to get to the wharf. This necessitated lifting loaded kayaks head high to navigate the corner.
Needless to say, we were not impressed and will not be kayaking back to Orcas Island anytime soon.
The simple addition of a small lower dock closer to the water level and a decent ladder would make it vastly easier for kayakers to put in or take out. And adding a small 45-degree section to the wharf at the top of the ramp would allow kayakers to wheel their craft straight off.
It would probably also be easier to navigate boat wheelbarrows as well. And once word gets out, more kayakers might put Orcas Island on their destination list instead of Friday Harbor.
Reg James, Richmond, B.C