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Sea Kayak: Paddling at Deception Pass, Whidbey Island, WA (Class III, about 7-8 miles. Playaing with eddies) (8-14-2011)
It was another fantastic weekend: hiking on Saturday and
sea-kayak paddling on Sunday.
On Saturday, Mt Townsend hike via alternate routes (Little Quilcene & Dirty Face Ridge) for the first
time was near perfect that I could hardly express myself. Aaron and I talked about that we
could hike that kind of trails till 0500pm, spend the
night in the mountain, and hike again next day. I felt like I was having the best
time in my life.
Well, on Sunday, it was similar, another fantastic day sightseeing & learning the new areas. I heard about the Deception Pass
from a boater: how beautiful the areas were and spooky to
navigate the areas during the night because of swift current and many
small islands. Fortunately, Les Moore sponsored the trip and a few Pennisula Wilderrness Club
members were paddling at Deception
Pass and playing in
strait eddies. My kayak skill level is too low to play in eddies but was confident to
paddle through some rough waters like the "tidal rip." Most importantly, I was not
afraid of capsizing.
From my perspective, the trip was a wonderful opportunity for sightseeting the areas just by driving
north to the Port Townsend, taking a ferry to Key Stone, and driving
through the Whidbey Island. While the
PWC kayakers were playing in the eddies,
I found myself at a calm water spot relaxing and watching them
play, and sightseeing the beautiful surrounding. I was truly a tourist in the
area for the day, only a kayaker/boater could experience.
I was able to capture some pictures using my antiquated early 2000s digital camera (as I broke a decent camera when I unexpectedly capsized last time). I would like to get a decent waterproof camera soon. For me, more pictures are better later on as they bring wonderful reminiscence of the trip.
paddling route in yellow Ready
to paddle out at Cornet Bay Looking
at Deception Pass Bridge
Here was a summary of my fun day:
a. Launched our kayaks at Cornet Bay, about 2 miles south of the Deception Pass Bridge. We paddled through the major boat pass. It was sort of fun paddling through some waves created by the passing boats.
b. Practiced assisted & self rescuing. Prior to having a lunch break, we found some calm water to practice self & assisted rescue. It was a good timing since I was sweating a bit and wanted to dip in the water. Water was a lot colder than the Bremerton area. I attempted roll back but my kayak would not even budge, so conducted a wet exit. Charlie quickly came over with scadling stroke and took charge in rescuing me. It went quite well and smooth. Then, I succeeded self-recuing myself using a cowboy method. However, self-rescuing on my kayak would be tough (maybe not possible) in 3 ft swell. It is always good to know what one is capable of with one's kayak for a safty reason.
c. Les & Charlie had lots of roll practices on this trip. They rolled here and there while padding. They even rolled back along the eddies. They are getting better and better, and I really want to roll soon. Paul (the master roller) rolled a couple of times despite his bad shoulder. I really think that, if all possible, kayak rolling should be part of sea-kayaking.
d. Played in eddies right below the north side of the Deception Pass Bridge (Canoe Passage). There were good eddies. I took a ride down the eddy but felt little dicey as I didn't have much skill to control of my kayak. Paul was having lots of fun and demonstrated "phenomenal" kayak manueavers that only an advanced white-water kayker could do such manueavers: a fast diagonal movement down the eddy that requires a total control of maneuvering kayak. Charlie, Les, and Tom also took part playing in eddies.
e. Played in eddies at the south side of the Deception Pass Bridge. It was a lot better eddies with much longer ride down. I wanted to ride down and back up but my left arm started cramming. I quickly padded to a calm area and relaxed. Thankfully, Paul came over to check on me. My body was still cold and steep after practicing assisted/self rescuing but quickly warmed up as I moved around a little.
f. Played in eddies near the Strawberry Island. Just east of the south side of the Deception Pass Bridge, there were another good eddies: short but strong. Les, Paul, Tom, and Charlie had lots of fun while I was taking easy by taking some pictures and watching the marvelous Deception Pass Bridge and its surrounding areas.
In summary, it was a fantastic day driving north to the Whidbey areas and paddling at the Deception Pass. I was truly thankful for taking me along and going out this kind of trip with the skillful PWC members. Without their help and dedication, I could not visit those areas from different perspectives.
How Whidbey got its name (in short, connection to Capt
As Tom and I were driving home, we saw the name Joseph Whidbey along the main road. I was wondering whom that person was. The island was fully explored in 1792 by Capt George Vancouver. In May 1792, Royal Navy officers and members of Vancouver's expedition, Joseph Whidbey and Peter Puget, began to map and explore the areas of what would later be named Puget Sound. After Joseph Whidbey circumnavigated the island in June of 1792, Vancouver named the island in his honor.
Here was our trip leader (Les Moore)'s trip description:
This is Class III, 6-10-nautical mile round trip paddle; total distance depends on route options (see below). Be at Cornet Bay at 9:30 am; we'll begin paddling promptly at 10:00 am to hit slack current at the pass. We'll have a quick paddle briefing just before launch. There are strong currents (up to 7 kt), eddies, rips and potential for standing waves at Deception Pass. There's a lot of fetch to the west but winds are usually calmer in the summer.
Distance and Route Options:
Putting in at Cornet Bay and visiting Deception Pass, Deception Island and Ben Ure Island will make a minimum of 6 nautical miles round trip -more if playing in eddies at the pass. We can also visit Bowman Bay and Northwest Island, which would add another 5 NM to the trip length.
- Put-in Cornet Bay promptly at 10:00 am
- Paddle west through Deception Pass and around the bridge island near 10:48 slack current.
- Paddle west to Deception Island (if not too windy) and back to the pass.
- Paddle east back through Deception Pass with flood (early afternoon)
- Play in eddies east of Deception Pass and paddle around Strawberry and Ben Ure Islands.
- Option to extend the trip by paddling north from Deception Island to Northwest Island, Bowman Bay (lunch?) and then back through Deception Pass.
- Take out Cornet Bay (mid to late afternoon pm)
- Catch 4:30 or 6:00 ferry to Port Townsend
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