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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Doe Island

This was just a perfect kayak camping weekend with cracking good paddling conditions, gorgeous scenery, fantastic weather, a lovely and quiet campsite with wonderful companions. All paddlers performed well with excellent group dynamics.

  • Sat, Jul 14, 2018 — Sun, Jul 15, 2018
  • Sea Kayak - Doe Island
  • Doe Island
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • T&C: SAT: GREEN PT:  -3.4@ 0915, S@1300, +4.8 @1615  / SHANNON PT: :-3.4@ 1001, S@1336, +3.2 @ 1734/ STRAWBERRY ISLAND: -4.7@1047, S@ 1438, +3.6@1731 / PEAVINE PASS: -2.9@1146, +6.8@1749/ SHIPHARBOR TIDE: -3.2 @1157, 8.5 @ 1749.  SUN: LAWRENCE PT: S@0710, -2.5@1157, S@1534 / BELLINGHAM CHANNEL: : -3.8 @1011, S@1350, +2.8 @1739/ GUEMAS CHANNEL (WEST ENTRANCE): -3.5 @1026, S@1417, +2.1 @1658 / SHIPHARBOR TIDE: 7.4@0542, -2.6@1244. 8.5@2029





 Everybody arrived on time if not early.  The tide was at the bottom of the boat ramp so it and the parking lot were almost empty and parking was not a problem.  We got our boats ready and had a bit of a wait in the shade of a small bush from the hot sun until I began our pre huddle talk a little before 1300.  There was still some room in the  overnight parking which is now charging $7 a night.  We launched approx 1315.  We headed west in the warm sunshine to Green Pt and mostly held our heading, adjusting our ferry angle as we cleared the chop due to the outflow on the north side of Guemas Channel about 45 minutes later.  We were well west of the buoy and after a short discussion we moved towards the shore so we wouldn’t get swept past the tiny beach at Strawberry Island.  Peter found out quickly how easy it can be to get sucked into the overflows but was able to paddle his way back over and we all landed on the beach to see a few kayaks already beached above us. Gabby stayed with the boats as the rest of us walked up to the campsite and were greeted by two guys with hammocks who were spending the day on the island. After about 20 minutes the group opted to take advantage of the fast current of the east side of the island and we circled back around to the overflows on the west side.  Terry and I were the only ones who opted to do a peel out and since the others declined we just did a conservative one.  Since there was no boat traffic we stayed closer to the middle of the channel to take advantage of the rapidly rising flood until we hit the wall at the back eddy about a mile or less from Doe Island. As many times as I have been there, the island can still be hard to spot as it hugs the back of the bay so closely it looks like another headland.  But the red roofed building to the left, the house almost exactly halfway up the hill directly behind it and the large white tent at the Resort made it an easier target. We landed approx 1600 on the east end rocky beach to find to my amazement that for the second year in a row the south side of the island was deserted.  We could only land two at a time on the canoe ladder and used the slings to beach our boats higher on the shore. After unloading we then carried the boats up and laid them across the driftwood below the picnic table. We ended up sharing the island with only one other camping party although we did see a couple paddlers in rec boats later. We all opted to share the same large campsite just west of the landing beach.  After setting up our camp we sat on a warm rock ledge to admire the scenery and watch the water activity as we ate our dinner.  We saw an otter along with numerous seals. The resort and hot tubs were closed due to a wedding again.  The new pit toilet facility is finished and is a nice one with actual large windows for a change.

 Camping is $12 a night per campsite and the pay station is on the north side of the island at the top of the power boat dock. I had brought wood and after a while got a fire going. Collecting kindling is allowed but no other foraging is permitted.  There are no food lockers so we hung our food on a conveniently nearby tree.  It was still light when we all turned in. The reception noise surprisingly more or less shut down around 10 PM. It was sunny and already pleasantly warm and dry when I got up at 6:30.  The water was calm and quiet as we launched at approx 0745.  On the way we stopped to watch some turkey vultures fluttering around the rocks at an unseen carcass close to reach Lawrence Point about an hour later.  After a pause to admire the scenery we took off in the already rapid current, heading east to mid channel before adjusting our course south as we quickly approached the east side of the hard leaning ringing buoy 16. We paused briefly after we passed Towhead Island to discuss where to have our break before deciding on Cypress Head.  Peter was in the lead, Terry and I were talking and Gabby closer to shore as we approached the small bay on the north side of the spit there about 20 minutes later when Peter hollered we were going to miss it.  Rather than work hard I called to just go on around and we would go in on the south side.  Terry and I stayed to the left outside while Gabby and Peter had fun getting spun around in the whirlies off the head.  By the time we were past the “5” marker I headed to the back eddy where Gabby was easily maintaining about 6 knots. We hopped over the eddyline and swung a hard right to get into the very shallow bay that led a short distance to the spit.  A small kayaking party was there having breakfast on the logs. They had paddled over from Anacortes and were planning on leaving shortly after we did some 20 minutes or so later.  The water was moving out fast and after a short calculation we headed on across the channel for the last four miles in the max current which helped to land us at the boat ramp about 45 minutes later after dodging the usual boat traffic on the south side, arriving around 1130.  Luckily we had no problems with the ferries all weekend. The water line was only slightly higher than where we had left it the day before and there was only one truck/trailer rig on the boat ramp with us as we unpacked.  There was less parking available though so the cars were brought down after all the boats and gear were moved up. We opted to go to the Farmhouse Restaurant afterwards where Gabby kindly bought my lunch.  There was a berry stand in a corner of the parking lot that Terry and I took advantage of before heading back to his house with only a moderate backup in traffic as soon as we hit I5.  The temperature was much warmer when we arrived at his house in Lake Forest Park and found out later that it was a record day.  It took only a few minutes to unload and then I was able to continue on with no traffic back to my house in South Tacoma.