Exploring Marine State Parks: Jones Island

Exploring Marine State Parks Jones Island
October 16, 2015
Thanks to Andy Cross, partner and managing editor of the boating news and information site Three Sheets Northwest for sharing his story of sailing to Jones Island Marine State Park. When he’s not blogging, you can find him and his family cruising and racing around the Pacific Northwest aboard their Grand Soleil 39, ‘Yahtzee.’ Want to read more about his and other folk’s Pacific Northwest sailing adventures? Check out the website here!

A thin layer of clouds parted over San Juan Channel revealing sunbreaks and patches of blue sky on a cool fall afternoon as we made our way from Friday Harbor to Jones Island.

I suspected we’d be the only boat in the North Cove and my suspicion was confirmed while rounding the reef at the northeast corner of the island; the main float had been removed for the winter and the mooring balls sat empty on a pane of glass-flat water.
Rowing through clear water on the eastern side of North Cove.
After taking our pick of moorings, we launched the dinghy and shed a layer of clothing as the amount of sunshine continued to grow. The cove was calm, sheltered from the southerly breeze, and we rowed leisurely around the rock formations on the eastern edge, watching water droplets fall and land in the gin clear water below.

The following morning we came back ashore for a loop hike around the eastern part of the island. While traversing the highest point in trail, we watched a bald eagle soar between Jones and Orcas Island above Spring Passage and seals play in the water beneath us. When we got to the South Cove, the bright green grass flowing over the rocks looked like a scene straight from an Irish golf course, and black-tailed deer munched on the luscious grass near the group campsites.

It’s scenes like these that keep bringing us back to Jones Island — especially in the off season.

About Jones Island Marine State Park:

Looking southwest from Jones Island across San Juan Channel.

While exploring Jones Island by foot or boat, it’s fun to imagine how the place would have looked to the Salish residents and later European and American explorers surveying the area. The island was named during the Wilkes Expedition of 1841. Its namesake, Captain Jacob Jones of the U.S. Navy, was the master and commander of the sloop-of-war Wasp who famously captured the British Brig Frolic in 1812.

Want to read more about the Cross family’s Jones Island jaunt?
Check out the site and more great photos here!

Have you got a whale of a tale to tell about sailing to a Washington State Marine Park?
Tell us all about it (or just a few highlights) and share your pictures here!