A Fluid Theme Throughout My Life

SSJF Central Section

July 31, 2019 – I woke up at 3, then again at 4, and again at 5 and 6, but I kept going back to sleep. Troubling feelings. I’m getting ever nearer to the open ocean. Do I have what I will need to explore it and enjoy it, and not just survive it? I mean, I’ve planned this out pretty thoroughly. Tomorrow is August. The last few paddle days have been really calm. No sweat. No problem. In fact, really great paddling/exploring. Ok. Get up, have several hot beverages and the triple chocolate croissant (hey, I’m on a kayak expedition! I don’t care if I get blemishes! I want the chocolate!) that wonderful host Ken brought back from the local bakery, then finish loading up the Saab and head to Salt Creek/Crescent Bay to launch by 10:30 in order to get the most from the tide.

Salt Creek meets the Strait of San Juan de Fuca at Crescent Bay. It’s a pretty tiny public beach access. The rest is all private property that charges people to access the other 90% of the beach. Even though it was almost three hours since the tide started coming in, everything was still pretty shallow in the creek and I waded through it to get to the beach. It was a mini-surf launch caused by wakes that started probably all the way across the strait, somewhere in Canada. I rigged up the sail because the forecast called for light and variable west winds. I had a sweet launch into the bay and around Tongue Point at 11 am, about three hours after the flood tide started. Nothing like getting on the water at the crack of dawn…

What I noticed right away are that the rocks and bluffs from Tongue Point to Angeles Point remind me of Cape Flattery. I’m getting closer to that other-worldly place of color and texture. At one level I can’t wait. At another I am nervous. But right now, in this place, on one side of me are blue/purple/green/gray/tan 100′ bluff walls, with tall conifers reaching out to the sky above them. On the other side, farther away, is the purple/blue/lack/gray/color after color silouette of Vancouver Island and the city of Victoria. The water is calm. There are tons of cool birds.

Today’s flood tide was a seven hour deal. So from the moment I got on the water I had a good amount of help from the current. I quickly rounded the points and came to Freshwater Bay. I don’t think it actually is freshwater in the bay, just saying. I tasted it and it was nice and salty. The bay has a good stretch of sand beaches as well as a nice public ramp for launching kayaks and smallish vessels into protected water. I saw about 20 total people on kayaking tours in the bay. It has a lot of cool little places to tuck into but no places where there is space above the high tide line to camp, so I was glad of my choice to launch at Salt Creek, paddle to the spit, and then drive back to Salt Creek to spend the night.

Next I came to one of the most significantly exciting places I’ve been to on this journey so far. Got to see the “River Reborn”, the Elwha, flowing into the strait without any dams holding it back. It’s been five years now since they took out the two dams. The experts think it will take a generation to really see how the salmon recover. I will continue to follow the progress.

A great many fishing boats out today. It felt great to dip and dive between them, staying well out of the way of their lines, but still be able to ask them how their luck was going. I saw four takedowns, big king salmon. It looked like a good fishing day for all.

After only a little over three hours, I landed at Ediz Hook Beach on the inside of Ediz Spit, a very busy place. A calm gravel take out beach allowed me to easily clean BABS off and get everything up above the high tide line. I had gone through a lot of stillwater scummy eelgrass/kelp beds the prior two paddle days that allowed all sorts of stuff to cling to her deck and hull. So, even though it was salt water, she cleaned up very well. There was a nice grassy area I carried her to with a picnic table on which I could stage my gear, which I did.

Today was a short paddle day, time wise – 16 miles in a little over three hours. I didn’t stop as much as I would have had I my binoculars. I sent them back to Nikon yesterday morning. I may get them back by the middle of next week… at the farm… Still figuring that one out. I may pick up a pair in Neah Bay the day after tomorrow to carry me through the next week or two…

So the lesson I worked on today: release “what ifs”, accept “what is”, be with “what is” – gently, joyfully, gratefully. Progress made.

The bluffs between Tongue Point and Observation Point. It is also part of the Salt Creek Recreation Area and my campground for the next two nights.
And to my left… Vancouver Island. So close and yet so far away. You can see what a calm day it is in this photo.
Where the Elwha meets the Pacific Ocean. Five years after its de-shackling. So thrilling to see it from the water.
A dystopian kind of photo with the paper mill on the spit in the background. Finally, my first good shot of the rhinocerous auklet! I saw over 200 of them today. The two common murres behind it are pretty cool too. Saw lots of them as well.
This is the view right after coming around the tip of the spit. I love the Coast Guard. Am I too old to enlist?
My take out beach. A nice gravel beach. I took the opportunity to use the nice clear water, albeit saltwater, here to wipe down BABS.

6 responses to “SSJF Central Section”

  1. We know that stretch of beach well. Shelley surfed there, and we’ve been up and down it a lot. I photographed up and down the Elwa before and after the dams came down. The recovery of the river is way ahead of schedule and is very exciting. they think the sand might fill in all the way to Ediz Hook. Safe Sailing.

  2. My experience with sailing down the Washington Coast is that there is a fairly big slow swell coming from the West when the weather is coming from that direction. Which is mostly always. The swell is no problem, but it turns into surf close to shore. I know you have this figured, but the farther offshore you are on a given day before coming in, the safer I will feel for you. I am ignorant of currents and tides, since I am but a humble engineer, but I know you are master of these things. What an epic and wonderful voyage!

  3. You are paddling in the places where I learned to kayak. I’m going to have to go back and paddle there again, your descriptions are spot on and bring back so many wonderful memories.

    1. Would you like to paddle around Cape flattery with me on Monday?

      1. I have work commitments here so I can’t, I can see if my uncle who got me into kayaking is available, he lives in Port Angeles.

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