Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Blake Island Marine State Park

Great day paddle for group outing. Good opportunities for learning VTS signals, navigating currents, towing if someone is tired - all in fairly safe overall areas.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Weather acted as NOAA predicted, gusting 15 to 20 mph out of the South West in the late afternoon on the venue day (April 2, 2022), making the final return crossing from Rich Passage challenging for some (one who was towed those last two miles). Most of the day was sunny, pleasant and in the 10mph range as also forecast.

    Group Dynamics: Keeping the group tightly together on the crossing to Blake from the East end of Rich Passage, and in other parts of the day  paddle in the twisting Passage itself, proved very beneficial to assist vocally notifying each other to move out of the Seattle-to-Bremerton ferry path, when the ferries came. We also notified VTS  (Vessel Transit Service) on Channel 14, of our whereabouts, so there was good awareness by other boaters as well as ferries.

    Route Tips: If entering Rich Passage on a strong ebb, as we did, be sure to keep kayakers (particularly less experienced ones) well clear of the corner buoys and fixed channel markers there on the south end at Point White. The current can quickly pull someone next to a buoy, potentially flipping them right at the beginning of the trip. One member on our trip got surprised and almost had a swim, but braced themselves properly.

    Gear Tips: Always do a radio check. Half way through the overall trip while on Blake, we found one of the many VHF radios various participants had could hear others, but their microphone didn't work and we couldn't hear them. 

Launch: Great parking right next to put-in at Illahee State Park. Discover Passes and clean bathrooms readily available. Park opened right at 8am on schedule, as advertised. Easy launch.

Route: Quick access to the narrowest part of Rich Passage. Ample opportunities to enjoy Fort Ward State Park or Manchester State Park along the way, or as substitutes if winds, strength or other cut off the crossing to Blake. Good bathroom access and landing spot in the harbor itself at Blake.

Length: ~12nm; 7 hour round trip including all breaks and stops (by a group of 6).