Guemes Island Community Center Association

Enriching and Connecting Our Island Community


Events Calendar

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Guemes Island, Skagit County, WA, USA

Ferry Cams

Click here for full-size views

(Find out if there is a 2nd 11:15am sailing)

⛴ Catch the Ferry

Ferry times are provided as a courtesy and without guarantee.

Ferry departs from Guemes approximately 8 minutes after the listed times below. Crossing time approximately 5 minutes. Round-trip time approximately 20-25 minutes.

*Wednesday 9:15 AM to Guemes and 2:00 PM from Guemes are hazardous materials runs only. No other vehicles or passengers may travel on these runs.
▼ Click here to show times

Community Messages

Upcoming Ferry Public Forum

January 26

The Board of Skagit County Commissioners, along with representatives from Public Works and Glosten Navel Architects, will join Guemes community members on January 26 at 2 PM at the Community Hall for a discussion about the following agenda items:

  •      Ferry replacement project update
  •      Draft fare revenue target report
  •      2019 haul-out – Feb. 24 through Mar. 18

Please check out the latest Ferry Newsletter for news on the Guemes Ferry and what's happening with new electric ferries along the Pacific coast, Canada, and around the world.

Plant Sale

Order Deadline: January 27
The Snohomish Conservation District is planning its 34th annual Plant Sale.  A catalog of available native plants can be found at  Deadline for plant orders is January 27, 20019.  The sale will be located at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe on February 9, from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm.  Orders should be picked up during that time period.

Return of the Light

Are you one of those people whose mood reflects the grey, dreary skies? Then you should now be feeling a little brighter each day. At the Winter Solstice on December 21, 2018, the sun reached its southernmost point in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere and began its trek northward in the sky. At that point, our days began to get longer. The daylight marches gradually toward the Vernal (Spring) Equinox on March 20 when day and night are nearly equal. On June 21, the Summer Solstice, we will celebrate the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. At the Autumnal Equinox on September 23, our days and nights are equal lengths and we begin the cycle again.


To track your daylight, go to plus many more interesting astrological facts at


Also, this year Daylight Saving Time returns March 10 when, essentially, we move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening, helping to brighten our days even further.

Weather Map

Mobile? Click 'Rain/Snow' tag for options

Island News

“A Holiday Offering” by Sarah Sibley-

Originally posted in January 2018. Thank you, Sarah, for this very relevant reminder and touching gift.

I think it was a few years ago that I wrote a holiday greeting extolling the amazingness of our island community and inviting everyone to the annual holiday potluck....
I didn’t write anything last year. Maybe it was because I was anxiously anticipating a warm weather, holiday trip to Palm Springs amidst a rather cold, stormy December on the island. Or, maybe I was just jaded. Sorry Guemes, I still love you. This year, I’m inspired to write again, because once again, I feel privileged to live here on Guemes and be a part of this community. 
We are living in a time of unbelievable uncertainty, utter confusion, all-too-often gut-wrenching tragedy, and constant disbelief. It’s almost enough to make one throw up their hands in surrender and lose all holiday spirit and faith in humanity. But, because we’re Guemians, let’s do the opposite. 

We are lucky, here on Guemes, to be living in a bubble – a beautiful, soft protective layer of green and blue and gray. We are separated from reality by an ever-changing channel and an unpredictable ferry; god bless it. Let’s revel in this. Our internet service goes in and out - if we even have internet service. Maybe this is a gift. An opportunity to switch off, log out, and be in the moment, right here in this incredible place we call home. It’s an opportunity to go outside and listen to the call of the barred owls and great horned owls, and the howl of coyotes, and the crow and cluck of chickens, and the chirp of dark-eyed juncos, and the shrill tones of varied thrushes. We don’t have to read headlines or watch the news. All the entertainment we need is outside our front doors. The dramatic sunsets we receive during the winter. A painted sky of rose, pink, purple, blue, orange that meets the silhouetted mountains and islands in the west and melt into the steel gray water. The anticipation of combing the beach for glistening agates after a storm. The feeling of accomplishment for climbing the mountain once again. The warm fuzzy feeling we all get when we see an otter or a seal pop it’s head out of the water while we’re walking the beach. It never gets old. 

Guemes is a gift to all of us, every day. Let’s be thankful for this gift, and for each other. We were all drawn here by a desire to live a more meaningful, quiet, simple existence. Let’s prove it. While there is unrest in the world outside Guemes, there can be peace right here on our island. Let’s celebrate this holiday by wishing each other happiness. Get out of our cars on the ferry and thank the workers and wish them a Merry Christmas. Thank Howard Pellet for his steadfast commitment to peace by showing up every Friday to exercise his freedom of speech. Thank Michael Recycle for quietly volunteering to pick up the park, the beaches, the parking lot, and being a not-so-secret caretaker of our island. Thank the Skagit Land Trust for tirelessly protecting our precious land. Let’s thank our neighbors for helping out, as we do here on Guemes because it takes an island. Let’s smile at each other on the ferry, like with real eye contact, instead of avoiding each other’s gaze. 

Let’s remember where we live, why we live here and how unbelievably lucky we are to call each other fellow islanders.  Celebrate this season with joy, happiness, and community spirit. To quote a very meaningful holiday card I sent out this year, “Peace on Earth for F&*k Sake!” Happy Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Happy New Year. I’m so glad we’re all here, together.
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Meet Your Neighbor

The Road Is Long – by Deb Strathman-

... but "The road to a friend's house is never too long." - Danish proverb

Pamplona -> [Güemes] -> Santiago (450 miles)

When Father Ernesto, Paqui, Miguel, and Marina, from Güemes, Spain, visited Guemes Island in April this year, I didn't divulge my intentions to hike the Camino de Santiago. I'd dreamed about completing the epic pilgrimage for years but, at that point, it was still just a dream. I had read books, watched movies, and talked about my dream, but taking the next step was a big commitment - and more than a little daunting. Ernesto's visit was the driver that put my "Camino wheels" (and, ultimately, my feet) into motion. I was committed to making my dream a reality - and maybe visiting Güemes, Spain as well! 

After talking with family and completing the necessary preparations and travel plans, my husband, John, our daughter, Gina, and I flew from San Francisco to Paris, to Madrid, and then to Pamplona, Spain.  On September 13th, we began the month-long walk from Pamplona to Santiago - 15 miles per day, carrying 15-lb packs. 

But this isn't a story about us or our Camino. It's a reminder of the special, lasting bond between two Guemeses and the extraordinary hospitality and kindness extended by the people of both ...
When I finally contacted Father Ernesto about our Camino plans, he was delighted to hear that we'd like to visit his pilgrims' shelter in Güemes. He made arrangements to pick us up near Logroño, a 2-1/2 hr drive from Güemes. After 4 days of walking from Pamplona to Logroño (with blistered feet, already!), we were really looking forward to seeing our friends and giving my feet a couple of days rest. Ernesto, Paqui, and Miguel were a sight for sore eyes (and feet)! There was much hugging and laughing. We spent the day touring the Spanish countryside, including some beautiful little seaside villages, and around the village of Güemes on our way to Ernesto's albergue.
View from the hills above Güemes, Spain
 We visited the 2 churches where Father Ernesto serves, including one that displays photos from his "Guemes world tour."

Ernesto's albergue isn't just a pilgrims' hostel. It's a large estate owned by Father Ernesto. Practically the entire village of Güemes is engaged, somehow, in helping at Ernesto's albergue. Volunteers bring food, help cook, help with maintenance, and many other tasks. Paqui and Miguel and several others are an integral part of the albergue’s mission. Many pilgrims who stop at the hostel for the typical one-night stay decide to come back and volunteer for weeks or months. Three meals a day are served to pilgrims and all that's requested in return is a donation. The complex has a library, a common room, and an ermita, where pilgrims can sit and reflect on their journey. Ernesto's collection of slides from his travels line the walls and ceiling of his study. Notes of gratitude from pilgrims from around the world are compiled into large volumes - each one a treasured gift. Many pilgrim guidebooks call this the best hostel on the Camino del Norte. It was definitely the best that we saw on our journey across northern Spain (of course, maybe we're also a little partial). 
Ernesto, Gina, Deb, and John at the Albergue La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto in Güemes, Spain
 Although we were pilgrims on the Camino, Ernesto insisted that we would not eat or sleep with the other 70+ pilgrims spending the night at his albergue that particular evening. Rather than twin beds or bunks in a large dormitory-style room, we had an entire living space, including 2 bedrooms and a private bath, in what was once was his parents' house (where Ernesto was born, 80 years ago), right on the grounds of the albergue.  Instead of the customary pilgrim's meal that we had experienced so far on the Camino, we ate with the wonderful staff in the large dining room - with mementos of Ernesto's travels and his life of caring for others covering the walls. The huge dining table was covered with plates of amazing food (Spanish paella, pasta with mushroom sauce, succulent roasted chicken) and lots of wine and other "merry-making" beverages. Dozens of volunteers shared in the feast. Barbara, a volunteer and former pilgrim from Dusseldorf, Germany, served as our translator.  There was much laughter and joy (no translation required) - obviously one big "family" enjoying a shared meal and time together. We were stuffed - and very "merry."
Paqui, Miguel, and other volunteers
 Our visit was short (parts of 2 days and 1 night) but we were grateful for the time we could spend together.  Ernesto, Paqui, Miguel, and Barbara drove us to Bilbao the following day.  We spent the afternoon and evening in Bilbao, where we visited the Guggenheim museum and participated in a "tapas tour." The following morning Gina flew to Barcelona and then home to California; John and I took a bus back to Logroño, where we picked up the Camino again - only 26 more days of walking to reach Santiago! 

My feet continued to be a problem; I was resigned that they would hurt for the rest of the trip. However, after a visit to a podiatrist in Burgos (5 days further down the road), a new pair of shoes, and another day of rest, things began to improve. 

About a week after leaving Ernesto and friends in Güemes, I received a text from them asking where we were - they wanted to take us out to dinner. "Wherever you are, we will find you."  What a fun surprise - and a little crazy, we thought. Were they really going to drive another 2-1/2 hr (one way) to have dinner with us and then turn around and drive back? Yes, they did! They found us in the sleepy little village of Castrojeriz (population 500). We shared another wonderful meal with these amazing people. Excellent food, excellent company - we felt so fortunate to be the recipients of their kindness and hospitality once again!
Ernesto, Paqui, Miguel, John, and Deb in Castrojeriz
After dinner, we said another fond farewell, with more hugs and smiles. Nineteen more Camino-days (~ 285 miles) awaited us when we set out again the following morning. We stayed in touch with our friends throughout our trip and shared this photo when we, finally, arrived in Santiago on October 16.
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral - a World Heritage site in Galicia, Spain
Amazing journey. Amazing people. Special friends. 

If you'd like to keep the "Guemes connection" alive, I encourage you to include Güemes, Spain in your future travel plans. In the meantime, if you're interested in sending holiday greetings to Father Ernesto and team, here's the mailing address: 

Father Ernesto Bustio Albergue La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto Calle el Albergue, S/N, 39191 Güemes, Cantabria, Spain
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Welcome Your New GICCA Board

The Guemes Island Community Center Association (GICCA) Board recently held their December organizational meeting to designate board positions. In November Carol Deach and Libby Boucher were elected to fill the two board vacancies. Rob Schroder, Loalynda Bird, and Barb Ohms were reelected. Chris Skinner and Liz Hartley have another year remaining on their terms.


Meet your new 2019 GICCA Board:
President - Barb Ohms
Vice President - Chris Skinner
Secretary - Libby Boucher
Treasurer - Liz Hartley
Trustees - Rob Schroder, Carol Deach, and Loalynda Bird


There is no public meeting in December. Please join us at our next meeting on January 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Hall.


The Board thanks you for your support this past year and wishes you a safe and happy New Year!


GICCA Community Outreach

The Guemes Island Community Center Association (GICCA) thanks you for your generous donations over the years. Your donations help sustain our building and grounds and ensure that we can continue to offer programs, events, and services that enrich and connect our island community.


We’d also like to remind that you should have received a letter in the mail just before the holidays that requests your continued support (view here). We hope you'll read this letter, take pride in our community, and be motivated to give generously. Your donation can be made using the stamped, self-addressed donor envelope you received in the mail. Or, if you prefer, you can click here and use your PayPal account or a credit card on our secure website. Thank you in advance for your community-minded support. We simply can't do it without you!

Last Call For Directory Updates

Deadline extended to mid-January

Islanders can easily add and update their online directory listings (both residential and business). A limited number of printed directories will be made available for purchase in the library. Timing and cost details will be published on once all updates are complete and copies are made. Your online updates will ensure that the directory continues to be a valuable asset to the community. We can't do it without you!


To add your listing(s), select either Residential Signup or Business Signup from the “Guemes Directory” option in the menu bar at the top of this page. To edit existing listings, select “Link Request” to receive a private link that enables your edits.


GICCA and the entire Guemes community thank you!

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2019 Ferry Haul Out - Plan Ahead

The Guemes Island Ferry is scheduled to be out of service February 24 through March 18, 2019.


Planning ahead is the key to preserving your sanity during the upcoming ferry haul out.


During the ferry shut down, passenger-only service will be provided by Arrow Launch Service. In addition, Skagit Transit will provide shuttle service on Guemes Island starting February 24. The ferry is tentatively scheduled to return to service on March 19, 2019.


Be sure to stock up on heavy or bulky items before the outage. Necessities like pet food, cat litter, birdseed, canned food, toilet paper, and paper towels can be inconvenient to transport in a wheelbarrow aboard a passenger-only vessel, especially in the rain. If you have livestock, including chickens, stock up now on feed and supplies.


Our postal and parcel carriers work especially hard to provide uninterrupted service during an outage. Do them a favor and order those large, heavy items for delivery before February 24. If you know you will be ordering furniture, tires, large appliances, mattresses, barbeques, etc. that require freight delivery, plan accordingly.


If you need to receive deliveries of oxygen or other medical equipment, make sure you have supplies stockpiled. Some durable medical equipment, like wheelchairs, walkers, toilet chairs, toilet risers, and crutches, are available through Guemes Connects. Call Lorraine Francis at 360-293-8364 for more information. These items are available to islanders at any time, not just during ferry outages.


Despite the inconvenience of not having a car ferry for a few weeks, many people enjoy the opportunity to reconnect with friends as we crowd together on the deck or in the salon of the passenger-only vessel. If you’re heading to town to shop, ask your neighbors if you can pick up items for them also.


Lend a hand to that FedEx carrier trying to juggle three wheelbarrows full of packages. Keep your sense of humor. As the saying goes, “we’re all in the same boat”…literally.

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The "Guemes Island Community Center" email list on LineTime is no longer used for GICCA mailings.

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Fun Factoids

Quite Interesting: The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but generates 30% of the world’s garbage.

Helpful Links

On Deck

Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of AmazonSmile purchases to their customers' chosen charitable organization. Guemes Island Community Center Association is registered on AmazonSmile. So, if you’re already shopping anyway, why not let Amazon make a small donation to GICCA - at no additional cost to you or GICCA!

How does it work?

  • Click on the AmazonSmile box (right) which brings you to the AmazonSmile GICCA page
    (you might want to bookmark that page to easily find it again).
  • Sign in to Amazon as usual.
  • Then, just shop as you normally would!

Click here to see how much you have made GICCA smile. Thank you!