~Paul & Amber ETC
Kayak launch at Sail Sand Point, Seattle [North Shore Recreation Area/Magnuson Park/Pontiac Bay/Lake Washington]
Looking for a great place to launch a kayak, SUP (stand up paddleboard), or canoe on Lake Washington? Cruise over to Magnuson Park and head north to the North Shore Recreation Area (a.k.a. Sail Sand Point). With tons of free parking, this free launch site on Pontiac Bay is perfect for trips in the north section of the lake. Journey across the lake (northeast) to St. Edward Park or south toward Leschi and beyond. I always knew this launch was here but hadn't taken any pictures of it until recently.
When you get there you'll notice all of the Sail Sand Point boats dry docked near the parking lot and a few of their office buildings near the launch. Sail Sand Point is a non-profit community boating group that offers all kinds of sailing lessons & more. You'll see a lot of member boats in storage here and depending on the time of year, there'll be plenty of Sail Sand Point members hanging about the place. Don't be shy when you are there with your boat, even if you're a new paddler. Always feel free to ask questions and ask for help if you need it - these people are fellow water-loving-folk and from the community, just like you. Hey, they might even invite you to the occasional onsite BBQ! Interested in joining Sail Sand Point? Check out more info here.
We leave you with two sight-seeing possibilities right next-door to this launch - a few pics below of the boat graveyard along the trail behind the Sail Sand Point office & another of the gi-normous Arena sports complex next door. The graveyard? It's just awesome. The gi-normous Arena sports complex? It's important to us because of the rumored bar inside…perhaps a light beverage after a long day of paddling on the lake?
~Paul & Amber ETC
Kayaking & exploring North Beach, Saltair Beach, Carpenter Creek, & Appletree Cove - Kingston Washington
Right at the end of summer, with captain wifey out of town visiting her family back East, my buddy Matt and I took Kingsley over to Kingston, WA for the weekend. Kingston's got a great little marina, nice cove to kayak in, and a great beach north of the ferry dock to explore.
It would have been an easy sail, just over an hour…except there was no wind…so we motored. Still a nice little trip, especially with the autopilot (we call 'the robot') keeping us on track.
Once at the marina, we took off to explore the waterfront section of town. Heading north of the ferry dock takes you to a great little beach - some call it North Beach, others call it Saltair beach (article here on the matter). You can also walk the high road through the neighborhood on the bluff just above the beach, and a loop trail connects back down to the beach (we didn't walk that far but saw it on a map in town).
After our mini-hike we returned to Kingsley to get our kayaking on. The best-best-best thing about the Kingston marina is the little dinghy/kayak lane opposite their (open to the public) guest dock (pictured below). Even at low tide this area remains a perfect place to put in a kayak. They even have little gazebos with tables along the dock for lunch. There is a boat ramp on the opposite side of the marina, away from the ferry dock, closer to parking if you prefer (easier to get a kayak off the car to the water).
Saltair beach from the water
We paddled north from the marina, carefully avoiding the WA state ferry dock (we went under the pilings…it seemed like there would be a sign saying not to but there wasn't…people on the walkways waived). We made it out to the point, Apple Cove Point, and turned back. Easy trip, it took us around an hour.
Back on land we investigated a few of the businesses and shops - one being a cool little granola factory, Mirracole Morsels, just up from the ferry dock. It's a great stop for a snack between paddles, maybe pick up a bag of granola to take with you for later.
After dinner we took one more paddle, this time into the cove towards Carpenter Creek (bridge picture below). With enough of a tide (we didn't quite have enough on this trip) it's possible to explore the creek & estuary, an important migration trail for various salmon species, especially chinook and coho.
All great northwest trips must come to an end…and this one ended with a north wind the next day, letting us downwind sail all the way back to Shilshole…boom…done.
~Paul, Matt ETC
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.
A couple months ago while taking a friend's new kayak for a test-spin, we paddled upon Schooner Zodiac. She was at port near Seattle's Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union. I've seen her around the Puget Sound in the past - she is gorgeous.
It was also my first time trying out the new-ish kayak put-in on the southwest side of the Lake. There was parking nearby (and a Starbucks:). It sure beats the rogue kayak put-ins that I was used to on this side of Lake Union - "stop that man with the inflatable kayak!". While I don't recommend this part of the lake for rookies, it's fun in a planes landing close-powerboats-tallships-craziness kinda way. It has great water views of downtown.
~Paul & Vic ETC
We're still moving a few posts from our old site over here...this one was from way back - originally posted on March 6th, 2010. This was right when we got our first kayak and way before we moved aboard Kingsley. Did we know what we were talking about? Barely! It's fun to look back even a couple of years and see how far we've paddled and how much we've learned!
Good Saturday to everyone,
This morning Amber had a dentist appointment...her dentist just happens to be on the waterfront, just minutes from a popular Seattle beach on the Puget Sound - Golden Gardens. This also turned out to be a great place to launch the kayak for a couple hours of paddling...which turned into a couple hours of just sitting and watching all of the boats.
According to a dude on the beach, every Saturday morning there is a sweet sailboat race going on out in the Sound. Lots of folks come to the beach to sit and watch the sailboats rounding the green buoy, turning back South towards downtown and the Elliot Bay marina (I'm guessing where another other buoy is). Hmmm...does the Yacht Club of Seattle put this on? Here is a link just in case: http://www.seattleyachtclub.org.
The best part about the inflatable kayaks we have is that it is so easy to pack them up and throw them into the trunk of a car. I've got my setup down to about 10 minutes - it's really about inflating the thing, putting the four-part oar together, and putting the leftover gear in the backpack.
So, off I went, heading out towards the green buoy, snapping photos like crazy.
Everyone's Travel bids farewell to summer with an evening sunset kayak in Shilshole Bay, Seattle WA, USA. We hope to execute some great Fall/Winter paddles in the coming months but the longer days are definitely behind us...the winds are up for an action packed Fall sailboat racing season...here's a few pics from racing in the backyard.
Welcome Russians! Here in Seattle we were recently graced with the presence of the 364 foot long tall ship, Pallada, sent from Russia with love (I added the with love part). The ship was only in port for a few days, tours were free, so ETC took an extended lunch break and climbed aboard!
Knowing the boat was headed off to Japan that evening, we rushed home and set sail aboard Kingsley to catch her on the way out of the Puget Sound...Apparently, under sail this baby can reach speeds of 18 knots.
I leave you with a Russian sailor photo extravaganza!
~Paul, Amber ETC
Well, unless UK's billionaire Sir Richard Branson is a member of Everyone's Travel Club, then I guess we may have trespassed a tad. I will, however, always claim the "Queen's Law", something I read about all of the British Virgin Island beaches being public up to the high tide mark (which isn't that far because they barely have tides anyway, but still) (this whole Queen's Law may or may not even be true, any club readers out there know?). Richard, if you're reading this, we'd love to come and review any of your islands for an ETC review...
Anyway, we rented a Hobie Wave from the Leverick Bay Marina, on the North Sound of Virgin Gorda. We drove over the crazy road again, this time took a shortcut towards Nail Bay (a lot of local maps say the road isn't complete yet but it is...and it is a way better way to get from town to the North Sound). The interesting man (a nice way of saying not too friendly) behind the booth wasn't going to rent the boat to us because we had 3 club members, the limit was 2, but he finally agreed (it didn't take that much).
We sailed around the Sound, always on lookout for the best beach to break for lunch. We found it on the leeward side of nearby Mosquito Island.
We found a little table/stone grill area under the canopy near the beach and had lunch. There was a cool old road that looked like it went all the way around to the other side of the island.
After lunch we snorkeled a little bit.
As we sailed back we caught a glimpse of a few other islands in the North Sound - Prickly Pear (National Park with only a beach bar) and Necker Island (Sir Richard Branson's private island...$54,000 a night).
Back. So it wasn't till after we got back to the cottage from this adventure did I learn that the island that we spent a lot of the day on, Mosquito Island, was purchased in 2007 by Branson (he owns two now), which means it is private (Queen's Law!). The funniest thing is that I read online that he is trying to bring non-native endangered lemurs from Africa to set free on the island, they are probably there now...it's slightly controversial among local naturalists/scientists (as you could imagine). He's also going to build an eco-friendly awesome resort and stuff. I knew the island felt a little funny...billionaire brings endangered non-native animals back from the brink of extinction and puts them on a far away island (don't worry, they won't escape) and then builds a resort on the island for visitors..."hold on to your butts".
~Paul, Ann, Jon ETC
OK, so we barely sailed on our recent Bahamas trip. But we did have a chance to check-out a Hobie Wave sailboat and take her for a spin.
If you haven't sailed before it's hard to go wrong with a Hobie Wave. If you know the basic points of sail you'll do great...do it!
~Paul & Amber ETC