Wednesday, January 23, 2008
On a sunny Monday in January Jon Walpole led a group of paddlers on a trip on the lower Columbia. We paddled from County Line Park (imaginatively near the county line between Cowlitz County and Wahkiakum (We-kayak-um) County) to Cathlamet. Slack before ebb was at about 1pm. The plan was to put in a bit before slack (somewhere between 11am and noon). An east wind would also propel us westward toward Cathlamet, perhaps giving us some waves to surf.
The weather prediction was for cold (high 38 F) and windy: 17 mph east wind gusting to 25 mph. Brrr! And indeed when we met the rest of our paddling team at Alder Creek Kayak parking lot bright and early this morning it was clear and a cold east wind was blowing, and we were cold in that parking lot there just shuffling boats around.
We drove to County Line Park (can’t people come up with better names for nice parks???), turned into the park, and magically slipped into an alternate universe. We got out of the cars and there was no wind. It was clear. The sun was baking down. We were warm!
Some folks shuttled a few cars down to Cathlamet Marina (our destination) and noted that near Cape Horn the wind was indeed blowing as predicted. Well, we weren’t surprised.
But at least when we started the trip we were warm and basking in a beautiful January day on the river. What luck! So on we paddled downstream in calm air and slack tide.
Just before Cape Horn (where the wind starts) we found a nice beach. We stopped for lunch to enjoy the last of the warm day with no wind. It was beautiful.
Then off for adventure! We got to Cape Horn and… no wind. Well, maybe 3 – 4 kt east wind. And by now it had turned into an ebb tide. So we had a (very) light breeze at our backs and a gentle current taking us downstream toward Cathlamet. And it stayed calm all day. Amazing.
We crossed over to Puget Island and paddled among the sloughs on the east end of the island (near Ginni's farm). We saw eagles and herons and seals, oh my.
We crossed back over to the Washington side of the Cathlamet Channel to view the waterfalls along the cliffs and avoid the breeze that was now picking up just a bit. Watched the sun set over the hills on the Oregon side and saw the full moon rise over Cathlamet.
I went up to the San Juans for a couple days in December 2007. I mainly went up because the little cabins at the Snug Harbor Resort on Mitchell Bay on San Juan Island are being torn down in early 2008 to build condos. So I wanted to stay in the little 1940's style cabins before they were gone for good. And of course do some kayaking up there.
Snug Harbor Resort is a great little place. (Well, for the moment.) The kind of resort that families would have gone to in the 40's and 50's when people still had time for family vacations together. It has a wide range of cabins from tiny to spacious. I rented a small cabin that had a pretty good little kitchen. The resort has a marina and a little store that sells things like coffee, the kinds of food one is likely to cook in the cabins, fishing gear, postcards, etc. It's on Mitchell Bay on the west side of San Juan Island.
On my way up there I stopped to visit Shawna and Leon on Orcas Island. And they had a beautiful new Romany in the store... spring green deck with a black hull. Very sexy. It was love at first sight. Of course I went for a walk for awhile to think about it. I went back to Body Boat Blade a few hours later and told them that yes, I wanted it.
So later that afternoon I was on another ferry heading to San Juan Island with two Romanys on top of my car :)
I paddled for two days from Snug Harbor Resort. On 12/11 I paddled to Roche Harbor for lunch. On the way back I explored Wescott Bay. The day was calm, not too cold, and the water like glass for most of the day. 8.6 nm
On 12/12 I paddled out into Haro Straight. We had about a 15 kt south wind with 1 -3 ft wind waves. The tide was flooding so the current was going north. So I paddled south against the wind and current for appr 1.5 nm and then turned back north and surfed the waves back to Mitchell Bay. I then explored every nook and cranny of Mitchell Bay since I figure I'm not likely to return here once they build condos. 8 nm
For more pictures see:
Pleasant day of paddling with Kristin, Katlyn and
It was a very high tide that day. We started paddling on the flood and returned to Skamokawa Center along Steamboat Slough for lunch as it began to ebb. After lunch our short paddle up Skamokawa Creek was on the ebb. Still not much current so not much work to paddle upstream. A very easy paddle back to Skamokawa Center. A bit of wind out on the Columbia (maybe 10 kt) so to make things easier for the girls we stayed in sheltered areas.
11/24/07. Appr 5.5 nm
Kristin and I paddled up the Gilbert River on Sauvie Island one rainy Sunday in November (11/18). A rainy day, but not windy and not too cold. We timed it so we were paddling up the river during the flood current and turned around and paddled back to the Gilbert River Boat Ramp when the current turned to ebb. A short trip: 5 nm
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I went up to Orcas for a couple days in October 2007. I took a roll class with Shawna on 10/29 and paddled along the west side of Orcas on 10/28. I paddled from West Beach south nearly to Jones Island and back. I paddled south with the ebb current and turned around to paddle north when I hit the flood current when I was nearly to Jones Island.
A porpoise followed me for a few minutes! Yes, that teensy thing you see in the photo. Very pleasant paddling. Nearly no wind. 10nm
Training for LoCo Roundup. An appr 10 nm trip from Clatskanie City Park to the island just outside of Wallace Island (on the way to Eureka Bar). Perfect weather. We went out at the end of the ebb and came back during flood. Very pleasant paddling. 8/19/2007.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Another camping trip on Eureka Bar. This time in the summer. After camping out here in December I was really able to appreciate hanging out barefoot in the sand with the sun baking down! Camped for two nights with Craig, Chrissy, Danny, Marlen and Michael in August 2007.
I paddled from the Beaver Boat Ramp in Clatskanie out to the island. An easy trip on the way to the island (quite calm) (8/2/07). On the return trip (8/4/07) I encountered 15 kt winds and 2 - 3 ft wind waves. 5.6 nm each way.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
I camped on Eureka Bar between Christmas and New Year 2006 with Craig, Todd, Ian and their friends. They have a tradition of camping on this island near Clatskanie between Christmas and New Year and they invited me this year. Craig loves being on the water any time of year and has taken his boys out camping, backpacking and boating for years. They have a great shelter setup on the island, which is great for these winter trips.
I love the austere feel of being out in nature in the winter. And the camraderie of camping with the guys was great. We ate well, kept warm in front of the fire, and told good stories.
I paddled there from Clatskanie. Easy paddling in the Clatskanie River. But definitely windy on the Columbia: appr 15 kt winds. 5.6 nm each way.
Friday, January 4, 2008
Paddled with Kristin from Skamokawa to nearly Cathlamet in October 2006. We paddled on Steamboat Slough and Elochoman Slough with about a mile on the Columbia. A very nice fall day. Started off calm, but near the end of the afternoon a SW wind picked up to 15 - 20 kt, with 2 ft wind waves. 8.6 nm
Thursday, January 3, 2008
In early December I took a couple days and went paddling in the San Juans. On Wednesday December 7 I paddled in Griffin Bay on San Juan Island. I launched from a beach in the park at American Camp, paddled north-ish along the shore to Turn Island, then paddled pretty much straight south back to American Camp. 9.5 nm
On Thursday December 8 I paddled from Deer Harbor on Orcas to Jones Island and back. I timed my trip so that the current of the flood tide would take me easily to Jones Island (not that difficult). I had lunch on Jones Island during slack so on the way back I had the ebb current helping me. On the way back I paddled around the Wasp Islands before heading back to Deer Harbor. 6.9 nm
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
I paddled in Chuckanut Bay near Bellingham on a beautiful fall day (Oct 4th, 2005). Winds mainly Force 1 -2, up to 3 at the most. The day was warm. Saw an eagle having lunch on a rock (fish, but couldn't tell what kind). Appr 6.5 nm.
For more photos see: