Sunday, September 30, 2012

Washington State in a Nutshell

   Tuesday morning, 6:30AM.  Mark and I are wandering along Bowman Beach.  The water is still, the tide is low, there's an island just off shore.  In a few minutes we could be out by the rocks and then off around the corner poking into various coves.  If we had boats, and if we had a way to transport them and all their associated gear.  

   There should be a word for that longing that comes when you see tempting water, but don’t have the gear to take advantage of it.  Whatever that word is, I had it in spades, and it only grows as I see other vehicles tooling along with kayaks in their racks.

   We might not go to that island, Deception Island.   To the east, down a mile or two is Deception Pass, whose currents can run to 7 knots.  If we were here long enough, we could watch kayaks play in those currents.  We went to visit San Juan Island on Monday, today we could visit another island, even take our car over.  The ferries here seem pretty stress free and relatively inexpensive.  I’m sure that’s not the case on holiday weekends, but it’s what we found in September.

     And in truth, with some effort and work, we could probably find someone who’d rent us boats, deliver them here and let us use them, or guide us on these waters.  Every day we’re torn between exploring an area by kayak, driving along seeing waters we wish we could paddle, just staying in one place and watching Puget Sound change throughout the day and (gasp!) non-kayaking adventures.  
Picnic dinner overlooking Anacortes
 It’s a good feeling, exploring a new area, having far more to explore than we can possibly do in a week.  So maybe next time it will be two weeks, or three.  Heck, maybe we'll drive out here and rent a place for the summer. And maybe we won't - we can hope for the future, but we can't count on it.  But at least we have this week, and with any luck, someday soon I'll see a purple sea star in the wild.

   And that in a nutshell is our week in Washington.  I've posted the paddling adventures, other stories may come later.  But right now, we'll concentrate on Maine.


  1. Does the sea kayaking world of the Pacific NW look fairly similar to Maine? Or is it a whole other experience?

    1. The scale there is much bigger, the shore lines much steeper. In Puget Sound I feel there are more areas with tricky currents and the tides are complex. We didn't come across any area with clusters of small islands off shore. In both areas the water is cold. I think Washington State provides more opportunities for surfing, current play and expeditions. I think Maine offers far more locations where you can paddle out and "own" an island for the day.