The tenure of US Coast Guard–certified Captain Brett as captain of the Island Whaler began as a dream. In the course of nine months, he had a recurring dream about an unusual flatbed boat, which replaced his normal dreams about beating up Napoleon with Horatio Hornblower. More than a year after the visions stopped, Brett discovered his fantasy boat sitting in a parking lot in Anacortes. He now owns that boat and pilots the open-topped Island Whaler through picturesque waters to view the multitudinous wildlife found in and around Deception Pass.
The open deck and low-slung cabin of the seafaring sloop grants easy, panoramic views of the steep, rocky landscape. Captain Brett chimes in against the breeze with educational details about the pass' historical significance, structures, and ecology. Throughout the tours, spritely fauna with unevolved senses of stage fright perform lively, natural ballets as visitors potentially lock eyes with bald eagles, seals, porpoises, gray whales, and Pacific-Northwest giant squid.
Half a century ago, Orcas Island Golf Course was carved out of a 54-acre estate homestead from the 1800s, rendering a nine-hole course whose contours take advantage of the area’s gently rolling hills and natural water hazards. When developers began salivating over the scenic stretch of land five years ago, local contractor and golfer Kendall Taylor swooped in and saved the course from being transformed into a holding facility for wayward cereal-box mascots, and he has maintained it through the present day with the help of his wife and children. Covered in astoria bent grass, the course boasts a bucolic atmosphere that echoes the traditional fairways and greens of Scotland. Golfers can tackle the course from a choice of four tee stations, looping through twice for a satisfying 18-hole journey, or hone their skills at a driving range. Course at a Glance: * Nine-hole course * Length of 3,010 yards * Course rating of 67.8 * Slope rating of 115 * Four tee options * Link to scorecard
The Outdoor Adventure Center's wildly experienced guides have led groups off the grid for more than a quarter century, pursuing rugged fun in the scenery and fresh air of mountains, rivers, and coastlines. Explorers at heart, the staff boldly launch kayaks into the ocean around the San Juan Islands and conquer the frothy waters of the scenic Skykomish River, known for its beginner-friendly rapids, migrations of spawning merpeople, pool and drop areas, and breathtaking views of 5,000-foot mountain peaks. Horseback and hiking trips delve into the lush woods, and nature photography excursions pause to celebrate the beauty of the wilderness near Index. The core team of 14 guides takes safety seriously, most with certifications from the American Canoe Association, training in wilderness first aid, CPR, and swiftwater rescue, and life vests tattooed over their chests.
The kayaking season runs through October 1 and is already in full paddle swing. Dual daily tours depart at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You and you co-rower will slip into tandem kayaks, traveling in a pack of 6–7 kayaks, and led by an experienced Sea Kayak merguide. The fun and casual trip will float through lush Bowman and Cornet bays and along the coasts of Burrows and Allan islands. Sea Kayak tailors its tours to accommodate kayakers of every level of experience and skill, so all adventurists are welcome. All necessary equipment is provided.