Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Budd Inlet

Wednesday evening summer solstice paddle on Budd Inlet, Olympia. Couldn't have asked for better conditions.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • We Launched from Swantown Marina in downtown Olympia. The roads and launch are in great condition. 

This trip is part of the Olympia Mountaineers Sea Kayaking Wednesday summer paddle series. We were treated to the solstice landing on a Wednesday this year and couldn't have asked for better conditions with warm sunny weather (but not hot), only a light breeze, and perfect tides.


Normally we launch from Boston Harbor but it's under construction so many other sites are being used. I chose to run this trip from Swantown Marina in downtown Olympia. A relatively easy launch with plenty of parking. And it's free for paddlers carrying their boat to the water. There are restrooms. It does require planning and efficiency. It can be busy on weekends, but less so on weekdays and evenings. It's important to not impede boaters using the launch. Park near the Olympia Area Rowing Building (Blue roof), quickly unload kayaks and stage on the grass near the boat ramp. Then drive out and north to North Point Parking lot. Use a bag or duffle to carry your gear back to the boat. It's not far at all. 


While staging kayaks this person pulled up in their solar charged electric pick up and very large sailboat. 


Trip according to plan

My plan was to take advantage of all available daylight or darn close, returning to the launch around 9PM. Sunset was 9:10PM, and civil end 9:50, so no worries on it getting dark. The tide was around 6' and rising at 6PM, having been low (-1.57) at 2:30PM. High predicted of 14.59' at 10PM. Winds predicted less than 10Kt on the WA Marine Forecast and in the 3-7 Kt range in other forecasts. Temperature predicted around 75 degrees at the start. This is the weather we experienced. My thought was to paddle north to Squaxin Park, cross to the west bay side and paddle into Budd Inlet and the marinas, then return along  Percival Landing, the Port of Olympia, around North Point back to the start. The trip was estimate at 8 miles and that's what we did.

During our pre-launch meeting I presented my idea and asked for input. We were a group of seven and everyone agreed and was comfortable with the plan. Skill levels varied from quite experienced paddlers to recent basic sea kayak graduate. We launched shortly after 6PM.

Budd Inlet can get busy with sailboats, both the single person trainers, to full size cruisers. We were careful to stay out of their path, which was not an issue since the winds were light. After stopping briefly at the point of Squaxin Park to regroup on the water, we chose a landmark on the far side. About half way across, we decided to angle north more   and did just that. We ended up crossing to Butler Cove, where we admired the water front homes and the occupants admired us. 


We thought we might need to rescue Gracie, but after alerting the owners on shore, we learned she's a full on water dog. 


Paddling past West Bay Marina toward Olympia


Looking east toward Olympia from West Bay



Olympia skyline with the Olympia Yacht Club, 4th Ave Bridge, The Views on 5th Building (previously known as the mistake on the lake) and the State Capitol.WednesdaySolsticePaddle20230621-6220085.jpgWednesdaySolsticePaddle20230621-6220094.jpg

Finding our way amongst the boats and the pier/landing.


Paddling along the Port of Olympia dock. No vessels at the moment. On the far end before rounding North Point, we saw a Harem of harbor seals hauled out on logs between old pilings. We did not cause them to break into the water, we stayed outside of the pilings, but during our post trip discussion, it was brought up we should have given them more space. Future trips should stay seaward of the pilings as we did, and ideally 100 yards out.


After passing by Anthony's Hearthfire grill, we paddle under the KGY radio station. What an iconic scene. 


We returned to the launch at 9PM, having paddled nearly a full 8 statute miles.  Everyone sporting smiles

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