Fossil Bay, Sucia Island

Beach on Fossil Bay, Sucia Island

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Combing Fossil Beach on Sucia Island

Lured by the memory of the previous morning’s breakfast aboard the Viking Star, we headed for the pier before 8:00 AM the final morning of our cruise. Our destination this morning was Sucia Island and in particular, Fossil Bay. Everybody arrived early, driven by hunger for breakfast and for some of Victoria’s hot coffee, so Captain Dale decided to set sail a bit early, at about 8:15 AM.

This morning involved a fairly long sailing time from Friday Harbor around Orcas Island to a horseshoe shaped island directly north of Orcas. The entire Sucia Island is now a state park, opened to the public for our enjoyment.

Along our route, the fog became thick again, but cleared enough to get some good views of wild life on Speiden Island. Originally intended to be a big game hunting preserve, with imported non-native animals, the hunters abandoned the island, leaving it to the animals. As our naturalist Victoria told us, the now resident animals cannot swim, so they are confined to the island, where they thrive.

The island most notably hosts Sika deer, brought here from Japan, and they are now extinct in their homeland and can be found only on Speiden Island. As we circled the island, we saw several bald eagles, more harbor seals, and lots of sea birds. But Minke whales and Dall’s porpoises eluded us. Now, where is that eagle’s nest that Captain Dale swore was on the shore? We never did find that either.

Around noonish, we pulled into Sucia Island and disembarked while the captain and Torque tied the boat off to its mooring. On the island, Victoria led us on a nature walk along the beach. We passed several encampments of park enthusiasts as we made our way to the beach on Fossil Bay. On the way, we stopped for a group picture, which you can see on the opening page of this write-up.

Thousands of years ago, a geological folding of the Earlth’s crust formed the reefs and broken shorelines of the island. This folding brought many interesting marine fossils to the surface. We found the best examples on the southeastern arm of the island at Fossil Bay.

On the beach at Fossil Bay, Victoria showed us many small fossils that had been unearthed and remained imprisoned in the rocks. What amazed us was the fact that half the island was formed many thousands of years ago, while the other half remained relatively new in geological terms.

Panoramic View of the Beach and Bay

Upon returning from our hike and search for fossils, Torque greeted us with a sumptuous picnic lunch in a small wooden shelter house. We had roast chicken, shrimp, salad, potato chips, champagne, and cider. After eating more than our fill, it was time to head back to Fairhaven to catch our train home to Seattle. Because our train didn’t depart until after 7:00 PM, we had plenty of time to wander around the town and grab some dinner before boarding.

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