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All the Ruggedness of the Pacific Northwest, Aboard a 1960s Yacht

Photographer Coco Aramaki set about to capture the entirety of the San Juan Islands in eight days.

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Coco Aramaki

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“When people talk about the beauty of the San Juan Islands, they’re usually referring to the four islands you can access by ferry,” Seattle-based photographer Coco Aramaki says of the archipelago off the coast of Washington. “When I started asking boat captains if it was possible to see all of the 128 named islands in eight days, they all had a similar response: ‘I don’t think anyone has ever done that before.’ That’s when I knew it would be my kind of project.”

Aramaki found a captain, Greg Hertel of Friday Harbor Cruises, and together with some friends she set out aboard his 1968 Grand Banks trawler yacht, loaded with a Zodiac and kayaks for accessing the islands. While traveling in the archipelago, they encountered a 1,500-pound sea lion, paid homage to soaring bald eagles, climbed tall trees and weather-beaten crags, swam in 50-degree water and met one local who carves totem poles for a living.

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48° 31′ 34.1580″ N, 122° 46′ 15.0384″ W: “Introduced Tyler, Nick and Jarod for the first time. Crossing my fingers they all get along.”

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48° 32′ 9.3516″ N, 123° 0′ 51.9516″ W: “Found the boat and unpacked our gear. Jarod wants to sleep on the dock. Not ready for boat life quite yet.”

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48° 38′ 24.5616″ N, 122° 46′ 47.4600″ W: “Exploring caves outside of Doe Bay on Orcas.”

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48° 38′ 26.2788″ N, 122° 46′ 45.4728″ W: “I’m loving this geodome…and getting off the boat.”

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48° 37′ 53.8500″ N, 122° 47′ 5.7120″ W: “This is how we shower. Doe Island.”

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48° 45′ 3.4056″ N, 122° 54′ 32.5116″ W: “Our first bonfire.”

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48° 44′ 13.3116″ N, 123° 2′ 33.9180″ W: “Nap time. Skipjack and Waldron islands in the distance.”

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48° 45′ 12.6540″ N, 122° 51′ 6.7248″ W: “We see a ball of seagulls and I have to beg the captain to drive through them.”

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48° 35′ 46.6584″ N, 122° 47′ 22.3980″ W: “Obstruction Island in the distance. Torn feelings about seeing land.”

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48° 43′ 27.6600″ N, 122° 47′ 46.4964″ W: “Between Matias and Clark islands.”

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48° 35′ 8.0736″ N, 122° 56′ 15.0756″ W: “Rock, paper, scissors. Nick loses.”

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48° 29′ 43.4148″ N, 122° 57′ 0.2088″ W: “Determined for the catch.”

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48° 26′ 42.4572″ N, 122° 54′ 7.4844″ W: “Secure. We’re out of here.”

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48° 26′ 53.5236″ N, 122° 53′ 38.4396″ W: “Crystal clear blue. Who knew.”

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48° 30′ 48.3552″ N, 122° 46′ 29.9064″ W: “Camping. James island.”

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48° 30′ 39.9600″ N, 122° 46′ 33.5748″ W: “Glory with her Pendelton.”

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48° 30′ 38.6604″ N, 122° 46′ 27.2424″ W: “James State Park.”

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48° 33′ 42.9336″ N, 123° 0′ 19.1988″ W: “We can’t stop smiling. Photographed all the islands of the San Juans.”

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