Placeholder Routes & Places

Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Deception Pass

Launch from Bowman Bay and paddle to Young Island (next to Burrows Island.)

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

This 10.8 paddle was part of the Paddle and Camp weekend at Deception Pass.  The coastline north of Bowman Bay, where we launched, is mostly high cliffs with a few interesting cave-like features and mild rock garden areas.  There is a nice pocket beach on the coastline just south of Burrows Bay for a break spot. We ended up paddling up the east side of Allen Island to Young Island, just adjacent to Burrows Island, to have lunch (on the west side of Young Island there are two small pocket beaches suitable for landing our party of 11 people) then paddled back on the west side of Allen before crossing to the mainland.

On the day of this paddle, the SE wind was predicted to pick up to as high as 10-11 kts during the day, and to start to build by 4:00 or 5:00 pm, reaching as high as 20 kts by midnight.  Our goal was to be off the water no later than 3:00 pm though we were hoping that the wind would stay out of the SE and that we would possibly be protected from it by the high cliffs that we were paddling along.

The current in Rosario Strait was close to slack when we launched at 9:30 am, and ready to start a mild ebb day (up to 1.6 kts in Rosario Strait in a southerly direction.)  My plan was to paddle north when the current was still mild and to have some current assist on the way back to Bowman Bay.  The current atlas for this area predicts that current pattern. Turns out, that's not what happens here!

On the way up to Young Island, the paddle was very easy -- we had a moderate south wind at our backs and the current along the coastline was still mildly flooding north with us.  We reached our Young Island destination fairly quickly without problem.

However, when we were ready to start back about 12:30 pm, we found that the wind we had to paddle back against had picked up stronger than predicted (it was probably 12-13 kts with gusts up to 15 kts) and we discovered that the current near the coastline didn't switch to a southerly direction after all.  That area apparently has a very large back eddy on an ebb and the current along the coastline remained flooding north the whole way back, until we made it back into Bowman Bay.  I never found the edge of the back eddy when exploring further out from the coast and I suspect it stretched quite a ways out from the coastline. So we had to paddle the last 5 miles against areas of fairly stiff wind and against moderate current.  Bummer!

Everyone made it back OK, though one paddler did need a brief period of towing to help finish the trip.

I've been mulling over when the best time to paddle this stretch would be.  On a flood current, I would expect the current along the coast to flow north, but on an ebb current, because of the local island topography, the current along the coast also seems to flow north.  You could paddle during slack but the distance (5 nm each way) makes having to deal with at least some northerly currents inevitable.

My conclusion is that this was a lovely place to paddle and doable BUT  best attempted on low wind days so you only have back eddy currents to deal with, not wind, on the way back to Bowman Bay.