[My GPS track: start at the ferry terminal on the mainland, clockwise around the island, 18.4 nm]
I arrived at the mainland Lummi ferry terminal not having done a lot of research on the island. It's considered one of the San Juan Islands but isn't featured in the Afoot and Afloat guide to the San Juan Islands. Apparently it's home to a few sustainable fisheries, historic inns, organic farms, excellent restaurants and cafes, and many artists and artisans. You know, typical San Juan Island stuff.
The chart I had showed a public boat launch by the ferry terminal on the mainland. When I arrived I couldn't find a launch ramp but saw a small parking area on the beach surrounded by concrete barriers.
I waved down one of the locals who was paddling a long, narrow wooden canoe nearby. His friend had built it. He said it was a little difficult to handle in the wind, and was still trying to find out which end was the front. It looked like wood strip construction, very sleek. Put a deck and a rudder on it and it would be perfect.
There was 10 knot breeze blowing from the southwest and mild currents predicted for the day. I crossed Hale Passage to the island and paddled close to shore to stay in the lee.
The southern half of Lummi remains undeveloped. Very pretty, except for one big open wound made by an active gravel mine. See what you have to look forward to, Maury Island?
On the southern tip I saw some oyster catchers diving at an eagle that had probably invaded their nest and eaten their young. That was the first time I had ever heard oyster catchers cry out or seen them flying around. Usually they are just standing on shore... looking for oysters.
Lummi stands out among the San Juan Islands because of its tall cliffs. They are even more impressive up close. As I craned my neck to look up I saw more eagles soaring around the peaks.
The Lummi Rocks, just off the western shore, mark an approximate midway point for the circumnavigation and a convenient place to stop for lunch. I ate while sitting among the wildflowers and gazing at the cliffs on the island to the north and down Bellingham Channel and Rosario Strait to the south.
Sea stars and Dungeness crab cling to the rocky shore all around Lummi. All you have to do to get a crab is reach down into the shallow water and pick one up. Do you think crabs suffer and experience pain? I had to ponder this question as I plucked a crab out of the water and watched it struggle vigorously and foam at the mouth. I personally consider it an important scientific question with profound philosophical implications, but if you are like the vast majority of people and don’t care to think about how the animal on your dinner plate lived or died then just forget I said anything, speciesist!