Matia Island day trip 4-11-06

  In a effort to enjoy a nice day and become more familiar with our new 34' Tollycraft... we venture out of Anacortes with the goal of having lunch on Matia Island.

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Stormy Sea
The Southernmost of The Sisters and Little Sister
A new boat presents new challenges: new systems to learn, new nooks and crannies to explore and to fill up with essential stuff. So on April 11, 2006. We left Anacortes with the goal of having lunch on Matia Island and becoming more familiar with "Velkommen".
Barnes Island Eagle Point

The gray morning skies were a compliment to "Stormy Sea". Just past Lawrence Point on Orcas Island is Clark Island, a State Park, three rocks sit off the Southern end of Clark Island, the first two are The Sisters and the Southernmost is Little Sister.

gravel beach
Northwest tip of Matia Island forming part of Rolfe Cove

Right beside Clark Island, sits Barnes Island. It's highest elevation is 95'. A few miles Northwest and we come to Matia Island and Eagle Point on the SW corner. Around Eagle Point we duck into Rolfe Cove. The wide gravel beach and the lush forest look inviting.

Little Matia Interesting geology Rolfe Cove is on the NW corner of Matia Island. There is a small adjacent island, sometimes referred to as Little Matia. The San Juan islands have an unusual geology, being much older than the mainland. Many of the rocks are sandstone with caves and grottos.
Dock and ramp at Matia Island State Park
Lunch on the Matia Island dock

Five acres surrounding Rolfe Cove are a Marine State Park, the remaining 140 acres are a wilderness reserve. Matia means "unprotected" in Spanish, although is has a dock and a few mooring bouys if the wind is blowing from the NW I suspect it would live up to it's name. Today, it's a marvelous place for a picnic lunch.

Matia Island sign Matia campsites

At the head of the ramp are a few camp sites and the beginning of a 1 mile loop trail that goes by lush vegitation and interesting rock formations. You can just imagine the unusual sea creatures that inhabited these recesses when they were submerged. The green mosses and ferns add to the enchantment.

Steps and little cave
More caves and crannies
Matia, and the other northern-most islands are sandstone, that is part of the Nanaimo Formation of Canada's gulf Islands, not the igneous rock that dominates the San Juans.
Moss and caves
Moss and ferns

Captain Eliza of the spanish Expedition of 1792 named the island "isle de Mata", which refers to it's lush plant growth. The U.S. Coast Survey gave it the name Matia in 1854. HistoryLink has a marvelous article on the "hermit of Matia Island".

Rolfe Cove
Velkommen at Rolfe Cove
Here is Rolfe Cove with our 34' Tollycraft, "Velkommen", tied to the float. On a nice day, I don't think a better picnic spot can be found.
Sucia Island and Little Matia
Rolfe Cove gravel beach
From the hillside above Rolfe Cove, we can look directly into Echo Bay on Sucia Island. Actually we have North Finger Island (left), Sucia Island (center distance) and Little Matia (right foreground). The gravel beach is great for beachcombing at low tide.
Velkommen and Little Matia
gravel beaches
"Velkommen" looks right at home in Rolfe Cove. I'd love to scuba dive around Little Matia and explore the submerged grottos. Today, beachcombing is the closest I can come. Eventually, the gravel beach becomes more rugged.
Southeast shoreline of Rolfe Cove
Wilderness Trail
The wilderness trail is a highlight of Matia Island. It's fairly dense, with some little openings.
Wilderness trail
Winlerness trail and ferns
Ferns and forest all around. It looks like cedars and hemlocks with some madrona around the edges.
Wilderness trail
Luann on the ramp
Matia Island is such a special spot that the day is gone much too quickly. On the next visit I want to spend at least a couple of days. Spending the night at Matia, whether camping or on the boat, would be just too cool.
Ranger David Castor
It looks like Luann has enjoyed the day at Matia. As we get prepared to leave, Ranger David Castor shows up to look over the island. Today he's inspecting the wilderness trail to check for damage done by Winter storms.
Ranger David Castor at Matia Island
Lawrence Point
His boat looks like a miniature landing craft and it easily navigates the channel between Matia and Little Matia even though it seems rather shallow. All too soon it's time to head back and watch Lawrence Point get closer and closer.
sea trials
Commodore Norm's 37 Tolly
Coming through Guemes Channel it's fun to watch the really big cruisers doing sea trials. Back at the dock we find our neighbor, the "Four C's" in port. Norm was commodore of the Tollycraft Club for the '05/'06 season and he keeps his 37 in perfect condition.
More Tulips
To complete the day, the tulips are in full bloom in the Skagit Valley. Red seems to be the predominant color this year, but you can see some others in the distance.
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