Sucia Island Marine State Park

For 20 years I’ve been a negligent resident of the San Juan Islands in that I’ve never visited the glory that is Sucia Island Marine State Park. I rectified that this month with a quick two night trip to this Pacific Northwest island paradise. And this trip was way too long in coming and far to short, so I’ll definitely be having a repeat.

We caught the first boat to Orcas and then took the Outer Island Excursions Water Taxi to Sucia. After a quick scout of campsites we, my crazy friend Beth and I, settled on a small bluff on the south side of Fox Cove overlooking Presidents Channel. The weather was forecast to be absolutely perfect so we gave our location and tent orientation not a second thought. Which in hindsight wasn’t the best choice.

 iPhone SE iPhone SE

Miss Laura and Beth’s friend Robert had joined us for the day so we all set off to explore as much of Sucia as we could before they needed to catch their return Water Taxi.

We first took a quick hike up to the the southern point at Fox Cove and then headed out to Ev Henry Point. In general, I tend to scout during day hikes, rarely bringing my camera out of the bag, and take a bunch of “test” shots with my iPhone SE. But on rare occasions a scene inspires me to try and tame the harsh mid-day light and give it a go.

And Sucia Island was very, very inspiring with the general theme, for me anyway, being rocks and trees.

 Hasselblad X1D + Xpan 90mm 10s @ f/11 iso 100 Hasselblad X1D + Xpan 90mm 10s @ f/11 iso 100

Ev Henry Point was definitely worth the hike and we were greeted with a glorious view of Mt Baker. I took a few more “snapshots” but mostly just hiked and enjoyed the scenery with a plan to return for golden hour and sunset. We headed back to camp and had a quick, make shift lunch and then made a mad dash to Shallow Bay on the west side of Sucia. We only admired it for a moment and the made tracks back to the dock so Laura and Robert could catch their ride home.

After another break that involve more food, and a bit of wine, we head back out to Ev Henry Point fully geared up for a late afternoon and sunset shoot. Unfortunately the views toward Mt Baker were hazy and not what we had hoped, so I played around a bit and snapped some pics here and there but finally focused a sweet group of rocks just off shore. The current was really starting to rip so I varied my exposure to try and capture the amazing motion of the water. This one was probably my favorite image of the trip.

 Hasselblad X1D + Xpan 90mm 10s @ f/11 iso 100 Hasselblad X1D + Xpan 90mm 10s @ f/11 iso 100

After a long day of hiking we were definitely ready for a restful night, and we most certainly did not get one. Unbeknownst to us, or the weather forecasts we had barely checked, there was a small craft advisory with gusty winds from the southwest. Yep, pretty much broadsiding the bluff we were camped on, and our tents. The worst of it was around 3am when we finally both had to get up to double check gear and tent stakes. The wind finally did calm a bit and the tents held up fine. Actually a pretty nice test of gear.

The next day was another amazing day of hiking as we set out to explore the north end of Sucia Island. The first destination was Ewing Cove which had stunning possible compositions in every direction so it will definitely get more love on a future trip. But since this was a scouting / hiking trip we didn’t spend much time there and headed back south and west towards Shallow Bay. We had just had a small glimpse of this sweet bay the day before so we stopped here for lunch. I didn’t bring my tripod on this hike but still managed to snap a few pics of the amazing rock formation.

We mustered up the energy to add a stop at Snoring Bay on the way back to our campsite. When we approached I was pretty much set on thinking it was just another “boring” Sucia cove, but oh I was so wrong. This is a sweet little bay with what looked like a single, but exposed campsite. Might have to consider spending a night hear on a future trip.

Tired and ready to get off our feet we headed back to camp for more food and wine. I don’t know about my Amazonian friend Beth, but I was pretty much done for the day so we stay close to camp and shot sunsets at Fossil Bay. Not a bad lazy photo gig.

The next morning we broke camp and took a stroll along the beach by our site killing time until our ferry came for our ride home. I had already packed the “proper” camera gear so I just snagged a few panos with the iPhone SE.

All in all about as perfect a trip as I could imagine and I regret that it took me so long to visit this island paradise. But it’s a fabulous local trip and I expect it won’t be 20 years til my next visit.

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