San Juan Islands Exploration on the Orion

San Juan Islands Exploration on the Orion

San Juan Islands Exploration on the Orion

Event Details

May 18, 2024 09:00 AM to
May 19, 2024 05:00 PM
Meet: Cap Sante Marina, Anacortes
Institute staff
Activity Level
Class Tuition
Minimum Age
Add it to your calendar

Ahoy! Join us as we set sail on the Orion, a classic, beautifully-restored 1934 wooden sailboat, to explore the biological riches of some lesser-known San Juan Island treasures. This natural history voyage will focus on seabirds, marine mammals and island wildflowers. Participants will also have the chance to learn the art of sailing and navigation on a historic vessel.


We’ll depart from Anacortes and head first to Jones Island, where we’ll explore the beautiful forests and rocky shores of this 188-acre State Park. We’ll learn about madronas, tidelands, pelagic birds and other natural phenomenon of the area. After a day of sailing and island exploration, an evening of fireside stories and music will be shared with Captain Kevin Campion and an Institute Naturalist before retiring to our tents in the island campground.


The next morning, we’ll sail for Yellow Island—a jewel of the San Juan archipelago. This tiny island, owned and stewarded by the Nature Conservancy and accessed only by special permission, has one of the most brilliant and diverse native wildflower displays in all of the Salish Sea. After a morning botanizing with field lenses, flower keys and knowledgeable guides, we’ll again raise our sails and turn our attention back to the water to search for seabirds and marine mammals as we make our slow way back to Anacortes.


Watch a beautiful video of the Orion exploring the Salish Sea at


All meals are provided. Bring your own tent and camping equipment, or let us know if we can loan you gear. Scholarships and Student, Military and Disability discounts are available for most in-person programs. Call (360) 854-2599 for more info!