Paddling Burrows Island

burrows island trip

Image courtesty of this site

Map of our trip Sunday October 28, 2007 around Burrows Island:     The red line is our basic course


Last weekend my crazy, paddling-obsessed, marathon running, husband convinced me to take a little paddle around Burrows Island. We’re lucky enough to live in one of the most celebrated kayaking areas in the country, so it’s about time we took advantage of that.  Usually, when it gets cold like it’s been, we’re holed up inside trying to keep warm and attempting to hibernate by stuffing our faces with junky food and sleeping.  But this year, both summer and fall so far, we’ve been doing our best to actually enjoy some mother nature before it gets so nasty that hibernating becomes the only option.

So last Sunday, we get up at 0:dark:30, load up our stuff while half-asleep and freezing (though to be fair, hubby did most of this by himself; always does) and headed south to Anacortes, WA.  We unloaded and launched from Washington Park.  Recently, I’ve had a horrific struggle with getting my dry suit on.  I swear that rubber gasket around the neck catches every single tiny baby hair on my neck and rips it out from the roots.  This is impossible to prevent because my head is usually stuck inside the dumb gasket, half in half out, and I have no choice but to continue yanking if I want the blasted thing to go on.  But, my husband in his infinite kayaking/paddling obsessiveness, managed to find a little blurb somewhere on the internet about using a pair of pantyhose to cover your hair while you put your dry suit on.  Looks like I’m about to hold up a liquor store, right?  Or else I’m auditioning for a Jane’s Addiction video.  But it worked like a freakin’ charm.


Oh, the indignity!

With that particular bit of torture behind me, we headed out into the glassy calm amongst the birds and bulbous kelp undulating in the tide.  First stop, the abandoned lighthouse on the southwestern part of the island.  We got out, scaled the rocks and got a closer look at the old structure.  It’s quite picturesque with a lovely view of Rosario Strait.  The lighthouse was automated in 1972 so no one lives there anymore, but it was thought provoking to stand there watching the water and wondering what kind of life it must have been to live so isolated but in such a beautiful and peaceful surrounding.

Image courtesy of Kayak Succor (R. Darling’s blog)

The Burrows Island Lighthouse 

We saw the first of many seals as we left the lighthouse.  No matter how many times I see one poke its head up above the water and study us in our kayaks, it just never seems to get old for me.  I squeal like a little kid and point, every single time.  We were lucky enough to see some river otters on a rock outcropping and follow the path of a couple porpoises as well.  Unfortunately, we weren’t quick enough with the camera, or close enough, in either of those instances.  But it made the trip totally worth it for me even though I got a little freaked in a couple of the eddylines.  I don’t have much experience with those yet.  But luckily they were mild.

After paddling about 4.5 miles around Burrows Island, we stopped at the campground on the northeastern end of the island for a little lunch.  I am definitely not in paddling shape!  Just those 4.5 miles pooped me out and after our rest we still had a mile to go.  But we checked out the campsite for a future visit and had a brief rest before paddling the rest of the way back to Washington Park. 


At the Burrows Island Campground

In the end, it was a lovely day and I’m so glad that R. Darling dragged my lazy ass out for a paddle.  It was  beautiful day with my best friend and I hope we do it again soon!


If you want more technical info about our paddle, you can find it over at R. Darling’s blog.  He’s the paddling-obsessed authority on all things kayaking ;)


8 thoughts on “Paddling Burrows Island

  1. I’m totally jealous. I would love to go kayaking for my weekend off. I’ve been canoing, but I think this coming summer I will finally take the kayak lessons that I have been putting off for the last three years. Looks like you had a lot of fun!

    Speaking of odd panty hose moments, I was doing the whole ‘put the thigh high on your head and tie it off before you put a wig one’ for Halloween. I felt like a drag queen!

  2. How fun! How odd, for some reason this WHOLE TIME I’ve been reading your blog I’ve been thinking that you lived in DC! WTF? Am I now one of those morons that can’t keep the city and the state straight?!

  3. Wow! It sounds like a great day! I love it when seals peek at you (I’ve seen them do it as I walked along an otherwise deserted stretch of coastline) : )

  4. I’m so jealous! A beautiful day, a fun experience, and all with your husband! The pictures are so amazing! I always thought I would like to live in a lighthouse, at least for a while.

  5. What a fun weekend! I envy you every minute of it! Pictures are fab and I guess that I will be repetative when I say that you guys make very handsome couple! How smart of you to put the stocking over your head while putting on your suit! I love this “crime” picture ;)

  6. That map is really cool! I wish we lived somewhere with a bunch of islands like that for kayaking. We’ve done it in the Caribbean and Pacific, but never locally. Fun!

  7. Wow! It looks like you guys had a great time! Glad hubby got a pic of you in the kayak! Now we know what you look like paddling around the islands.

    Wow I have always thought it would be really neat to live in a light house, although solitary. That’s really cool you guys got to visit the place. I’m looking forward to more kayaking adventures.

  8. OK, like everyone else, I am totally jealous! I’ve done some outrigger paddling on Lake Superior, but would love to be on the ocean. Although we do have lighthouses, lake trout jumping out of the lake aren’t quite the same as seeing seals!

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