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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - English Boom to Stanwood

A spectacularly clear, albeit cold, day for our four hour 5 minute, 8.3 nm paddle from English Boom to Stanwood and back on the morning high tide. Spectacular views of Baker, the North Cascades, and the Olympics, along with many flocks of trumpeter swans along north end of West Pass.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The road down to English Boom was drivable, what little ice left over from the recent snowfall had received a light topping of gravel from the county snowplows. 

    The water conditions on this trip were close to ideal, with many places where the water was as smooth as glass. The winds were light but managed to oppose us all the way as they backed around from the southeast to the northwest over the course of the trip.

We left the beach at about 8:15am, at which point the rising tide as measured at Crescent Harbor was at about 9.6ft.  Winds were light and from the southeast as we proceeded along in calm water toward the north opening of West Pass.  We didn’t notice much of an assist from the rising tide up to the Camano Gateway Bridge, where we stopped for a break at Eide Road Park on Leque Island. We noticed a definite upstream tidal flow as we resumed travel up the Stillaguamish at 10am, when the tide at Crescent Harbor was predicted to be at about 10.7 ft and the tide at Hat Slough, south of Stanwood near the north end of Port Susan, at about 5.25 ft. We followed the Stillaguamish past the Twin City Foods plant and the old Hamilton Lumber smoke stack to our halfway point where the tide hit its peak.  There we found ourselves at the turn of an oxbow clear of any buildings or other structures, surrounded by fields and nice views of the Olympic Mountains to the west and Mount Baker to the northeast. The river was high enough at this point, about 11 feet per Crescent Harbor, there appeared to be plenty of places where one could land on the muddy shore without having to scramble up the steep banks normally prevelant along the river at lower tide levels. We choose not to try any landings there and headed back at that point.

On our return down river the surface conditions were mirror like most of the way until we reached West Pass. There we encountered some slight ripples caused by the wind, which had backed around to the northwest. Any advantage we might have had from the outgoing tide was negated by the wind and our trip up West Pass to Skagit Bay was a slog at 2.5 kts.

At the end of West Pass, we followed the channel marker poles out to the third pole.  With the point of English Boom in plain sight, we turned west and gradually gained speed with the falling tide and a better wind angle.  Ended the trip 4 hours and 5 minutes after initial launch. Total distance 8.3 nm.