Monday, September 17, 2012

Sunday in Seattle

Hello Seattle!  We were up at dawn and the kayak rental would open at 10.  So after a quick breakfast we went first to Discovery Park, where we found the intertidal zone distinctly uninspiring, but the drift wood structures and lighthouse pleasant.
Then it was over to the locks; which were a world away from the east coast.
An elephant seal patrolled the water (and dodged our cameras.) The fish ladders were filled with trophy sized salmon.
And the locks were filled with sailboats headed out for a breast cancer awareness regatta.
10AM and we were at the Paddle Club, ready to rent boats.  The Paddle Club was ready to launch kayaks quickly.  On Saturday they'd had lines an hour long waiting for service, and they didn't want to get behind.  There was no discussion of which kayak to use: the man at the counter called over to the docks:  "A Looksha and a 17, two spray skirts."
A Paddle wheeler converted to a houseboat (sorry about the smudge)
  The 17 was for Mark, the sprayskirts a tribute to the Northern Light Paddle Mark had grasped in his hand.  Not too surprisingly, the Paddle Club did not offer Greenland Style Paddles.

   In the kayaks and on the water in just a few minutes.  They did adjust the foot pegs for us, but no time was spent on other adjustments.   Later at the Gas Works Park I'd stop and figure out how to adjust the backband to keep it from digging in.
A variety of boats on Lake Union, another duck boat is in the picture and probably a few kayaks
   And not much time was spent on kayak guidance or etiquette.  We were asked about our plans and when we said we were thinking of dipping into Lake Washington we were warned that before we entered the canal we should check the navigational light.  If it was green we could proceed, but if it was red, that meant a barge or other large vessel was traversing the canal and we'd be wise to stay out.

   I'm not sure if the lack of instruction was also due to Mark carrying his own paddle, but as I watched other kayaks haphazardly bounce about the lake, I couldn't help but feel some guidance about sticking to the shore would be useful.  
Cool graffiti by Gas Works Park.  Remnants of Coal Gasification equipment in the background
   That being said, the many houseboat owners are probably grateful to kayakers, who keep down the speed and wake of the many other boats in the area.
I like this houseboat because it has engines
  The area was entertaining, all types of boats, all sorts of people.  The Necky's felt marginal, the foot pedals were squishy, as they often are on ruddered boats.  
Still more houseboats and a few geese.  Note what a nice crossing they're doing; perpendicular to shore, tightly grouped
   After we finished we ate at Agua Verde,  just upstairs from the Paddle Club.  We had an amazing lunch, great food served quickly. If you're happy with a ruddered boat or a tandem and want a great meal after, this is a terrific place to go.
Taken from Agua Verde, this is a large group heading out, and some others headed in.
Summary:  Rental:  The Paddle Club
   It was a nice enough time, but I can't help but feel that it could have been better.  Specifically I think the Northwest Outdoor Center might have been better.  At the time I'd thought the Paddle Club was on Lake Union and Northwest Outdoor Center on Lake Washington.  I'm not sure why, other than in the week before we headed out a credit card was stolen, our bank account sold to a different bank, the lawn mower broke and, as a final straw, right before we went the iPad charger faded in a quick burst of light, so things became confusing.  
Animals seen:  Seagulls, Canada Geese, limpets, clams, elephant seal, salmon, crabs, barnacles, mussels (No sea stars...)
A gratuitous photo from Chihuly Garden;  including a boat or two


  1. Aw heck. A kinda sorta paddle in Seattle, WA. The sun just don't shine there. I remember my week there once - rain, more rain, and shopping malls in the rain!

    It's hard to beat paddling in Maine.

    Next time, head a little further north to British Columbia, Canada and I'll join you!

    Or head a little further south to California, and I'll join you there too!


    1. Let us know when you get invited to try a mothership tour out of British Columbia, and we'll try to join you! Seattle does get a fair amount of rain, 38 inches, but just 90 minutes north on the San Juan Islands they get half that. I love Western geography and how quickly it varies!