Marrowstone & Indian Islands

So many great choices with this Puget Sound sea kayaking adventure! Circumnavigate Marrowstone and/or Indian Islands, or paddle along their shores. Discover geologic features along the shores and play in the tidal rapids off Marrowstone Point. Or launch from Marrowstone Point for trips to Whidbey Island's west shore.

Launch Points

  • Fort Flagler: A Discover Pass is needed to park here. There are bathrooms and showers. If arriving near dusk (park closing), contact the Park and provide them your license plate numbers.
  • Indian Island Park: No parking pass or permit is needed here. There is a port-a-potty (closed in winter). Launching  at low tides can be muddy.
  • Oak Bay Park
  • East Beach Park
  • Point Hudson:  The launch point in Port Townsend is private so please park not there but nearby. There are restrooms at Northwest Maritime Center.

on the water

Marrowstone Island: Indian Island Park to Fort Flagler

10 nm, difficulty: Sea Kayak IV

Enjoy a "wind run" with ebb current on this 10 nm paddle up the eastern shore of Marrowstone Island, and play in the tidal rapid off Marrowstone Point. The trip is one-way, requiring a shuttle, and wind from the south.

Launch from Indian Island County Park and paddle around the spit to the right. Paddle for 2.8 nm against the beginning ebb current until rounding Liplip Point. One constraint in this trip is fighting both the wind and the ebb to get to Liplip, so allow some time for this and use the usual tactics such as staying close to shore. Leaving the launch is when you'll encounter the most resistance. After Liplip, paddle a 5.3 nm run with the ebb, and a south wind. The beach along this stretch is limited at very high tides. East Beach County Park, approximately  half-way on the trip, is a good lunch spot. It is feasible to make repeated passes playing in the tidal rapids off Marrowstone Point. Container that ship wakes create exciting conditions. Continue  1.7 nm further west to Fort Flagler boat ramp.

  • A south wind is ideal. Southeast winds mean you have quartering seas.
  • If a participant has a problem with boat control, they can paddle into an eddy on the north side of Marrowostone Point.
  • If a participant doesn’t wish to play in the tidal rapid, they can stay in very shallow water hugging the point, then turn left into the eddy and wait it out on the beach.
  • Standing waves seem at their best with an ebb (at station 0.3 nm northeast of Marrowstone Point) between 2.8 and 3.4 knots.
  • In 2020, culverts were removed and a was bridge installed. A survey in 2021 revealed that three feet of tide level using the Oak Bay tide station is required to float a kayak through the channel between Indian and Marrowstone Islands. Slack in the channel lagged Oak Bay by 40 minutes. This channel flows north during flood (or rising tide).

Marrowstone Island: East Beach to Mystery Bay

8.0 nm, difficulty: Sea Kayak III

Paddle from East Beach Park on Marrowstone Island, north around Fort Flagler, and south to Mystery Bay.

  • Bathrooms are available at East Beach, Fort Flagler, and Mystery Bay.
  • A 0 ft tide or greater is required to paddle between Rat Island and Marrowstone Island.
  • It is a 0.7 nm level walk from Mystery Bay to East Beach to retrieve the cars. 

marrowstone point

Launch from Fort Flagler State Park and play in the tidal rapids off Marrowstone Point. Ebb currents seem to be particularly well developed when there is swell coming down the straits or windy conditions. Container that ship wakes create exciting conditions. Standing waves seem at their best with an ebb (at station 0.3 nm northeast of Marrowstone Point) between 2.8 and 3.4 knots.

Marrowstone Point Triple Cross

20.5 nm, Difficulty: Sea Kayak IV/V

This is a double head paddle with a twist! Take advantage of all currents available. Ride an ebb current out from Marrowstone Point to Partridge Point on Whidbey Island. Once tide starts flooding, ride back to Admiralty Head and then cross over to Wilson Point at Port Townsend. Finally, ride the flood current back to Marrowstone Point.

Marrowstone Point to Fort Casey, Admiralty Head

15.09 nm, Difficulty: Sea Kayak IV

Launch from Marrowstone Point and ride an ebb current up to Fort Casey, Admiralty Head. After short break paddle to Ledgewood Beach County Park. Continue down the shoreline of Whidbey Island south to Lagoon Point County Park, and then paddle west to Marrowstone Point.

Marrowstone Island Circumnavigation

Length and Difficulty TBD

Indian Island Circumnavigation

12.5 nm, Difficulty: Sea Kayak III

Marrowstone & Indian Islands Circumnavigation

16+ nm, difficulty: sea kayak III/IV

Kilisut Harbor

Located between Marrowstone and Indian Island near Port Townsend, sea kayaking here provides some protection from the wind.

Information for Leaders

Scheduling

This route/place allows multiple bookings. Please review the schedule activities to be sure that now two trips use the same launch point on the same day and that the routes do not significantly overlap.

permits

The Mountaineers has a commercial use permit with Washington State Parks for all free and fee-based outings at state parks. Leaders should carry a print or digital copy of our  commercial use permit to show rangers they may encounter.

  • Difficulty: *Varies*, Sea Kayak III, Sea Kayak IV
  • Length: 12.0 nm
Map
  • NOAA Port Townsend No. 18464
  • NOAA Bellingham to Everett No. 18423
  • NOAA Approaches to Admirally Inlet Dungeness to Oak Bay No. 18471
  • Sea Trails North Hood Canal, Dosewallips to Port Ludlow WA105
  • Sea Trails Port Townsend, Dungeness Spit to Marrowstone Island WA103
  • MapTech Cape Flattery to Whidbey Island No. 103
Activities

Upcoming Activities

Sea Kayak - Marrowstone Island

Sea Kayaking Trip
We’ll launch from East Beach Park taking advantage of some flood current over to South
Difficulty: *Varies*, Sea Kayak III, Sea Kayak IV
Sat, Jan 28, 2023
Prerequisites
0 participants
Registration closes Jan 27
Tacoma Branch

Sea Kayak - Marrowstone Island

Sea Kayaking Trip
We will launch from Mystery Bay State Park, and paddle clockwise until reaching East Beach
Difficulty: *Varies*, Sea Kayak III, Sea Kayak IV
Sat, Mar 11, 2023
Prerequisites
1 participant
Registration closes Mar 10
Tacoma Branch
Trip Reports
Titles

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Marrowstone Island
  • Marrowstone Island Circumnavigation
  • Marrowstone & Indian Islands Circumnavigation
  • Marrowstone Island: Indian Island Park to Fort Flagler
  • Marrowstone Point to Fort Casey, Admiralty Head
  • Marrowstone Point Triple Cross
  • Port Townsend to Marrowstone Island
  • Indian Island
  • Indian Island Circumnavigation
  • Indian Island County Park to Fort Flagler
  • Kilisut Harbor
Resources

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