Sucia Island – Getting There

Launch Ramps

On the mainland:

There is a ramp beside the Lummi Island ferry, west of Bellingham, that puts you about 12 miles from Sucia. This ramp is suitable for smaller boats, and bigger boats may be able to use it above half tide, but if you have a keel or deep skeg you should be prepared to go to Bellingham instead. The cost at Lummi was $5 and includes parking. There is a fenced lot across the road, and lots of open space near the ramp. The owner also told me (two years ago) that a camera watches the parking area, and the risk of break-ins is low — but there’s no guarantee on that. There’s also a store (not part of marina) beside the ramp, so someone is around a lot of the time. For more information, call the marina direct at (360) 758 2450.

The launch ramps at Bellingham are excellent, you can launch at all states of the tide. This will add a few miles to your journey, but these are sheltered miles in Bellingham Bay and out of any strong tidal current.

On Orcas Island:

Larger boats may have trouble finding a launch ramp, our experience has been that it’s better to leave from the mainland.

Bartwood Lodge on Orcas offers launching of small boats and kayaks. Fee is $10 for boats and $6 for kayaks with $6 per night for parking. One of the shots on their opening website shows the ramp next to pier at low tide. One of our boaters says it is a lot easier at high tide.  Phone first.

If you are launching a kayak or other light boat, you can launch from North Beach, for nothing, but watch for tide rips off the shore.

To get to Orcas, you will have to take the Washington State Ferry.

On Vancouver Island:

Tulista Park in Sidney has an excellent ramp, cost is $8, credit cards accepted. Multi-day parking is getting hard to find but you can take a chance across the road in the lot by the tourist information booth — I’ve been told by locals they park overnight there all the time but check the signs just in case.  Do not park overnight in the regular lot.

Another good spot, I’m told, is in Crofton, just north of Duncan.  Watch for signs off Highway 1.

From Vancouver Island (or other Canadian starting point) you must clear US customs before going on to Sucia.  Roche Harbor is right on way from Sidney, and handy from the Gulf Islands too.  The customs office is right on the end of the marina docks, look for the sign.  Friendly but professional, have your passport.

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