San Juan Islands in mid-November

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by dornblaser, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    My wife has a business trip to San Francisco and Snoqualmie, WA in mid-November. I was thinking of joining her in WA on the weekend that after her business appointments. We were thinking of spending a couple of days on the San Juan Islands, does anyone know what it is like there at that time of year? Any suggestions, I know that it is Orca season? We will want to take a lens longer than O40-150? Thanks.
     
  2. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Definitely the off season. Nov is the rainiest month. That said it is much drier than Snoqualmie and even Seattle so people come here to escape the uniform grey veil in Seattle. The weather may be decent here when raining on the mainland. It isn't whale season but the whales have been mostly absent the last couple years (due to reduced salmon runs ??) Still, you might get lucky as one group which eats mammals still hang around. A longer lens would be useful for wildlife. A bit early but eagles may be setting up housekeeping. Plus seals, porpoise, foxes, otters, deer, etc. Otherwise more info needed. If you have specific questions or interests, ask away.
     
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  3. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Thanks.
     
  4. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Mu-43 Regular

    124
    Jul 11, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    Orca season is essentially done now. I wouldn't plan on seeing any, though you may be lucky. I'd expect the islands to be very quiet around that time of year. Tourist season is over already.
     
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  5. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Could it be a relaxing couple of days?
     
  6. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Mu-43 Regular

    124
    Jul 11, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    Sure. A lot less crowds, more locals out and about. I live on an island in the sound area as well and it's the same here (though not as extreme of a change). Just take the rain for what it is and don't be afraid to go out in it.

    What island/islands are you looking at? San Juan Island (Friday Harbor) is the most popular.
     
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  7. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    I haven't gotten that far yet, my wife hasn't finalized her trip and I texted her this morning asking about going to the SJ Islands instead staying in Seattle again.
     
  8. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Mu-43 Regular

    Absolutely. In that short period of time you might just want to spend time on San Juan Island alone. Friday Harbor is pleasant and a side trip up to Roche Harbor is interesting.

    For history you can go the American and British camps. On Orcas Island the view from Mt. Constitution is spectacular.
     
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  9. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Thank you.
     
  10. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Orcas is quite nice. Having said that, depending on what you want to do, you could also spend time in the Skagit Valley. It is a nice area with a number of small towns, and if you want to make a long day of it, you could take Highway 20 to Newhalem, or take a drive up the Mt. Baker highway. These are nice drives, but they will take you into the mountains rather than put you near water (although Highway 20 parallels the Skagit River for quite awhile). There are a lot of places to stay in or near La Conner, and there are a number of decent places to eat there as well.

    Good luck,

    --Ken
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
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  11. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Not really :) Slower, yes but shoulder season has been picking up in the last few years. I had an enjoyable chat with a couple from Madrid on Wed and ran into folks from the East Coast and from California. As well as the usual Puget Sounders escaping the city.
     
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  12. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    My wife returns home from London tomorrow, Saturday, night but we have already decided to spend 2 - 3 night on San Juan Island. We are looking for a relaxing trip but active walking and exploring all day.

    Thanks, Ken. I am a Spey fly fisher and I have spent plenty of time on the Skagit. Great suggestion.
     
  13. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Then I think that both SJ and Orcas Islands should offer you what you are looking for. You can always take a ferry and island hop if you want to see another island (although do pay attention to the ferry schedules). Orcas had some nice food places in and around Eastsound if you are there.

    Have fun,

    --Ken
     
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  14. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    OK, if you like walking check out our website. I do the trail maps for the island. Here, Here and Here. For other trails see Trails drop-down. More info in the Resources drop-down. I'd be happy to answer more specific questions.
     
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  15. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Wow! Thanks! My wife has gone to bed, she was exhausted, but we will talk tomorrow.
     
  16. During peak season bike rentals are available - not sure about this time of year. We took our bikes on the ferry and biked to the American Camp, maybe an hour each way? A nice alternate way to stretch the legs :) Our honeymoon was spent on Orcas, Eastsound is a cute little town.
     
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  17. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    We will be going to San Juan Island but we are also considering a day trip to Mt. Rainier, what are the conditions at Mt. Ranier mid-November? Thanks.
     
  18. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
  19. fader

    fader Mu-43 Veteran

    359
    Aug 20, 2016
    Brest, France
    Isaac
    could be dry or could be snowed in - really depends. Day trip doesn't leave a lot of time for you, and getting from the Islands -> Mt. Rainier is a long haul through traffic and 2 lane highways.

    If you like boats at all, I highly recommend hopping a ferry over to Port Townsend. (former Langley Whidbey Island resident, & long time Seattle resident).

    In Snoqualmie, don't miss the falls.
     
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  20. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    Chicago-area
    David Dornblaser
    Yeah, I was guessing that