Neah Bay to Sekiu
August 3, 2019 – I woke up this morning with great enthusiasm. The first time I woke up at 3:30, I decided I was going to paddle all the way from Neah Bay to Twin River, a total distance of about 33 miles. The incoming tides have been so nice this past week I thought I might be able to do the whole thing in 6-7 hours. I launched in thick fog just west of the Coast Guard station in Neah Bay. There was just enough visibility to see the shoreline, or reefline, or pilings, etc. the first hour. Then it started to lift during the second hour. I thought I was good to go for the rest of the morning so I got out farther into the main channel to get some help from the current.
The fog actually rolled back in again during the third hour for a bit, so again I stuck closer to the shore to avoid fishing boats and not get lost. Unfortunately, the “onshore flow” that has been helping me on my eastbound paddles slowed way down today, and it took a little over four hours to do the 18-mile paddle from Neah Bay to Clallum Bay. I had some snacks with me but had forgotten my lunch bag back at the campsite, so I decided to split the paddles into two days again.
I am not sorry I started out in Neah Bay. Not at all. Three gray whales! One by itself about 45 minutes into the paddle, and another two during the second hour. They were all hugging the shoreline and staying a long time in one place. They were all far enough away and only surfaced enough for me to have the live experience. No photos. I am hopeful as I move down the coast there will be many more opportunities to see and photograph them.
Another highlight was seeing a marbled murrelet already changing out of breeding plumage. Even those I saw two days ago still were mostly brown. I am thrilled that I now have them on my Washington state list. It will be interesting to see how far south I see them. I have yet to see or hear one in our lower Columbia area where they once were here in numbers.
Just two more sections of the SSJF and I will have experienced the whole southern shore on this journey from a kayak. Feeling great.