Fort Flagler, WA and the Seals

28 10 2021
Suzanne and Bob at Fort Flagler

Right after my September visit to Lake Quinault, I continued up the west side of the Olympic Peninsula, past Port Angeles, and on to the Port Townsend area where my friends Suzanne and Bob live. They live on Kala Point, south of town, on Port Townsend Bay. Bob built himself a dandy wooden sea going rowing shell. We decided to meet up at Fort Flagler State Park, on the other side of Indian Island for a paddle/row. I brought along the Wilderness Systems Tempest 170 I borrowed from work.

Bob launched from Kala Point and rowed over, whilst Suzanne and I drove over to Fort Flagler. After getting the Tempest 170 adjusted for Suzanne, we launched.

From the launch site the whole of Port Townsend Bay comes into view. I could see a ferry carrying passengers from Whidbey Island, the town’s famous clock tower, and a sailboat race taking place right in front of the town docks. The weather was calm, and it was low tide. So very little current when we launched.

We came to a sand spit across the way, and spotted a colony of maybe 35 seals. They were all laid up on the beach soaking up the sun. But they were wary and all stared at us as we approached. I paddled slowly, mostly gliding toward them. Then, one by one, they moved into the water. Eventually the whole colony was swimming around looking at us. Sometimes, I could see a seal swimming under my kayak! They’d swim upside down so they could see my kayak above.

As you can see from the videos, the seals were wary, yes, but they were just as curious! The cutest part was the pups and their mothers “kissing.”

The tide started coming in. And boy, in that area, when the tide makes it move, it starts cranking! By the time we turned back, the surface was a one-way river!

The experience was very refreshing. I grew up in the northeast 15 minutes away from the shore. Sailboats and salt water are in my blood, so this was so much needed! I shall return.





Wooden Ships, History and Paddling in Port Townsend, WA

21 09 2018

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Schooner at the Wooden Boat Festival

My friends Suzanne and Bob Eggleston recently moved up to Port Townsend and I went up to visit. When you’re living in Portland, Oregon, it’s often easy to forget that a wonderful salt water recreational paradise lies a couple of hours north! Not only that, but many towns in the northern Puget Sound are in a rain shadow – they receive less than half the rain Portland or Seattle gets. This meteorological fact has attracted quite a few folks relocating or retiring.

Artsy Schooner 2

Port Townsend has quite a view. You can typically see not only the beautiful vessels in the harbor and the historic buildings, but Mt. Baker dominates the view east. Mt Baker is  10,781 ft and is very glaciated. But on this trip, smoke from wildfires in British Columbia obscured the view.

Artsy Schooner 1

Working every weekend in the outdoor recreation business, I looked forward to this mid-week visit. Just after Labor Day and before the Wooden Boat Festival. The early 20th-Century downtown was not thronged with tourists. To get there, I drove up the Hood Canal, and arrived in town about mid afternoon on Tuesday. The drive up Hood Canal was very pretty. Quite the transition to a saltwater culture. Lots of towns right on the water. Some seem to be harvesting oysters for income, and others making ends meet from the tourist industry.

Suzanne and Bob settled in a community named Kala Point. It’s very much peaceful once you pass the gate. Problems of the outside world are left behind. It even has its own pickle-ball courts and a beach where kayaks and rowing boats are stored.

In town, we walked the waterfront, glimpsing the wooden craft coming into port for the Wooden Boat Festival. Power Yachts big and small, schooners, ketches, yawls, sloops and dinghies all coming in.

Rod at dock

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Suzanne and Bob on the docks.

After walking the docks, we went to dinner at Sirens Pub, which has a to-die-for view of the docks. Not only that, but my Portobello Mushroom salad was really scrumptious.

One of our highlight activities was to be a paddle on the bay!

I brought up my kayak and Suzanne borrowed a Hobie pedal drive kayak from a kind (and trusting) neighbor.

 

 

View from Sirens

Dinner with a view at The Sirens Pub

Kala Point has its own beach so we headed down there. Perfect day for a paddle! Wind out of the North Northeast about 10-12 mph. Launching my Current Designs Sisu is a simple affair, even with the seaweed along the shoreline. Suzanne’s Hobie Mirage Drive kayak is a bit more problematic. It has these “fins” which move back and forth underneath the kayak and are driven by pedals up on deck. It’s got bicycle chains connecting, and anything that the fins/chains come into contact with can throw off the whole system. So launching Suzanne involved keeping “fins up” and moving out beyond the clogging seaweed. Either way we got ourselves launched and out into the bay.

Suzanne and Hobie

Suzanne about to go to sea!

We spent several hours out there. Super nice to get out on the water!