Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Goat Island

Super fine 7+ nm EMSK paddle around mysterious Goat Island. Congrats to Michelle M. and Rebecca S. on competing their two required student paddles for the Mountaineers Basic Sea Kayaking badge!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

  • Best ever conditions for this route! Calm winds, no waves, sunny clear skies. Mountain vistas all around. 

My original plan was to hit the fishway at around noon when the tide would be at 7 feet today. As usual, I took the group over to check the opening for obstructions and upon finding nothing significant we decided "why wait" and proceeded through. I estimate the tide was at about 5.6 ft at that time of the morning and I was pleasantly sunrised to find we could work our way through without much trouble.

After visiting the ruins of Fort Whitman on Goat Island we headed north across the dredged channel toward the west end of biggest rock in that direction. Practiced selecting and following ranges to make a straight course against the mild flood making its way toward the Swinomish  Channel.  When we reached the far shore we followed it eastward toward La Conner and snuck through the narrow passage between the sandbar island and Fidalgo Island.

After clearing this part we went back to the fishway to see how it looked at a 7 foot tide. The water level was higher on the south side, owning to the flow from the North Fork of the Skagit River mixing with the waters of Skagit Bay. It was flowing quite smartly northward toward us. While we could have tested the current there, a large rock in the middle looked hungry for the taste of gelcoat and fiberglass.  So we elected not to test its limits.

Returning to the big hole in the wall. We decided to skip the beach at McGlinn Island for rescue practice and moved that activity to a more protected cove just inside channel opening in the west side.

We took advantage of some wake to surf a way up into town.

The Garmin stats for this trip: 7.1 nautical miles, 2.4 knots average speed, max speed 4.7 riding with the outgoing tide.

After paddle debrief. Everyone had a great time and the students said they appreciated the tips, practice, and historical references.

Waters of Skagit Bay were extremely calm today with views of Whitehorse, Three Fingers, Pilchuck, and other mountains of the North Cascades. Even as far south as the Mount Rainier stratovolcano. I don't recall ever paddling this area under such ideal conditions.