A few weeks ago we made a quick trip to the lovely sailing town of Port Townsend, WA. There is so much we love about this quiet little town - Necisito Burrito for one - but to top it off the Tall Ship Hawaiian Chieftain was at port giving sunset sails...awesome stuff. More from Port Townsend later this week!
More about the history of Hawaiian Chieftain here.
It might be because I'm actually from the Midwest, but every time we pass by some Northwest-y type oyster farm, fish farm, aquatic anything we usually stop. On a recent trip to Westport WA, we stopped by Brady's Oysters to grab some sea life to go. Check it out - even better, plan a paddling trip from nearby Johns River State Wildlife Area and stop here for some oyster refreshments!
~Paul & Amber ETC
It used to be good enough to just paddle on a beautiful, sunny, summer day with my mates. Ahhh the freshwater of the Lake Washington Ship Canal - no salt getting on everything that I'll have to scrub off later. Definitely one of the top places to paddle in Seattle. This used to be enough, but today, well, we're hungry.
My usual kayak-food-combination of sun flour seeds (I discovered their many flavors in the Up & Over), Cliff bars, and those 6-pack peanut butter crackers (the cheapest calories available, I'm telling ya:) wasn't cutting it this time. Where can you paddle to get some grub in this town?
Since we're in Ballard it wouldn't make sense to paddle to the 'Habitude launch' and get some delicious pancakes at the Portage Bay Cafe. No worries though, just a 20 min paddle from one of our favorite Ship Canal put-ins - the 14th ave Boat Ramp - is the Fishermen's Terminal.
The paddle over is really only about 20-30 mins - that gives you time to explore the surrounding area, checking out all of the cool boats and nautical stuff the lines the Lake Washington Ship Canal.
As you approach the Terminal, you'll enter with the lighthouse-ish office straight ahead. To get to the public use dock where you can pull up your kayaks or even dock your sailboat, just head almost all the way to the west until you see the big Fishermen's Terminal sign (pictured below). Head towards that to get your grub on.
A paddle back gives you more time to explore the area - the Fremont bridge and Lake Union to the east and the Locks to the west.
And finally, a parting shot below - captain wifey won't let me get one, but a man can dream (that is in fact a goose shaped dinghy).
~Paul, Amber, Vic, Keith ETC
Last week we took the club to the 'Up & Over' to another paddle that starts in a river and ends up in the Sound. This time we actually planned ahead a little and checked the tides (last time we didn't). What a difference that makes! We parked here, near Stanwood WA and in the Hat Slough, and paddled down the Stillaguamish river to the Sound and back and had a great time.
A couple of things about this paddle, number 1 - tides. We planned our trip just right so that we would make it to the Sound with around a plus 3 foot tide. I figured this would be deep enough for us to paddle through and not get stuck in the sand. It worked. The extra bonus to this was that when we started to come back, the tide was still coming in - thus sending us up river. We basically paddled down river with a slow moving current and then rode the tides back up...sweet.
The only bad thing about this plan would be if you wanted to keep going past the entrance to the Sound (to somewhere like Kayak Point). Once we made it out to the saltwater, since the tides were coming in, we paddled against a pretty strong current (like a river). Keep that in mind.
Also, this is a river. We paddled it in the Northwest summer which usually lacks the one thing we're known for - rain. Be careful what time of year you paddle rivers (I think that is pretty obvious but just in case). More rain means more water, faster water sometimes, maybe even more snags in the river too.
Then, there is the launch site. This one is a little hidden, especially if the tide comes in and on your return you literally rise a few feet. Check out the picture below - your launch site is just past the one tree before the other tree. The green one. See what I mean?
However, just remember you put-in just down river from a bridge (pictured below).
Finally, the parking lot. There has been some stuff written on local blogs and mentioned to us by locals at the site about the threat of break-ins at this parking lot. The moral of the story was don't leave anything of value in your car if you leave it here while paddling. For us it was fine and we saw more good people coming and going then sketchy ones.
~Paul, Amber, John ETC
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