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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Hammersley Inlet

It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day on lovely Hammersley Inlet that is always full of surprises!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • CURRENTS:  HAMMERSLEY WEST END: -2.3 @ 1104, S @ 1448;  LIBBY POINT: -3.9 @ 1146, S @ 1505, +3.41 @ 1813; PICKERING PASSAGE: -2.5 @ 1110, S @ 1426, +2.4 @ 1727      

    TIDES: ARCADIA: 13.91 @ 0628, -2.41@1332, 15.44 @ 2020




MaryBeth arrived soon after I did at 0900 the Arcadia boat launch.  After using the very clean and well stocked Honey Buckets we loaded my boat and gear into her vehicle for the first shuttle to Walker Park.  I did it in reverse order so that boats/gear would not be left unattended.  She told me of her boating experience in particular her recent session on Agate Passage. She also wisely informed me of a recent injury that would result in a minor hip irritation that I would keep in mind throughout the session. I covered a bit of the pre-paddle talk on the about 15 minute drive.  We parked in the lot on the east side of the park and used our wheels to quickly get our boats and gear down to the beach.  We then sat at one of the picnic tables and I went over the basics using the charts.  MaryBeth listened closely and had good questions already prepared that I was able to answer to her satisfaction and this would continue throughout the session.


We were on the water at 1115 and took our time making observations along the way.  We paused for a bit at Skookum Point and worked on peel outs and ferry angles to cross over and ride the gentle 2 knot current and observe the sea life clinging to the walls there.  We then continued on to Mill Creek but didn’t get even to the first bend before hitting mud. 


We didn’t need to get out at that point so I covered the rule of thumb to calculate ferry angles and then crossed successfully over to Libby Pt.  We then did it again to cross back over towards a red boat pulled up on the shore but were distracted by a feeding sea lion close by en route.  When we successfully reached the beached boat we found that the people were setting up oyster farm equipment. 


We then made fast time in the shallows to Cape Horn.  A power boat went by, keeping to the right side of the channel as we approached.  The tide was way down so there weren’t any surfing opportunities.  MaryBeth was game to get in the some 3 knot current to successfully navigate an easy peel out through the confused waters with minimum coaching.  We then pulled over on the north beach for a quick water and stretch break. The crabs were active under our boat and that is always entertaining.  They have a harsh life and never seem to get along together…it’s a wonder that there are any left!


We negotiated another ferry to the other side and hit the unexpectedly shallow bottom at one point going around Cape Cod; it felt like somebody was shaking my stern!  Soon we were at the “hole” in front of Steamboat Island with no indications of the waterfall/well beneath our boats.  We paused to examine more marine life on the exposed shelf—I was excited to see some purple sea stars!!--before continuing on to Hope Island.  Some raccoons scattered at our approach but soon returned by the time we beached our boats up on the beach mindful of the now flooding tide and walked up the stairs to find a family at the picnic tables at the south end state park. Before I went I observed a clam shoving its foot out of the shell to move up the beach! The toilet was clean and stocked and we stayed there in the now rapidly warming sunshine and clearing sky having lunch for about 45 minutes.  The shy raccoons were numerous and timidly approached but were quick to scoot away when nothing was given. It’s tempting though…they are so cute!


The tide had risen to the back of our boats so it was easy to load up and get back in. We chose to go around the east side of Hope and once out of the back eddy found ourselves being rapidly pushed along the shoreline with more raccoons shopping the waterline along the way.  By now the breeze had come up a bit and it was welcome as the sun was getting warm in a hurry.  MaryBeth wound up going a bit too far south but eventually caught back up where I was waiting for her, reporting that she had some boat handling issues after she discovered she was heading for the wrong spot. 


We arrived about 1445 at the boat launch and it was busy as it usually is this time of year but we still had room and time to get our boat all the way to the top and off to the side before I went up to change and bring the car down. Parking next to the trees rather than the road kept the car much cooler!  One boater kindly retrieved my foam noodle when it made a break for it across the beach.  It was very quick to load and tie down the boats and then we were back off to Walker Park.  MaryBeth was feeling ok and said that she was satisfied with the information; it is a lot to take in but hopefully she will find it useful in her upcoming Deception Pass session.


Once back in the park to her car parked under the beautiful trees where after a change and phone call she followed me to the Black Bear Diner in Lakewood for dinner.  We had some slow down between Olympia and Nisqually; I just can’t figure out why that ALWAYS happens.  After a nice dinner and lively conversation I went home to Tacoma and MaryBeth to Bellevue.


MaryBeth performed well with excellent followership and communication skills.