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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Hammersley Inlet

A practically perfect winter paddling day complete with much missed sea stars!!!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles


    CURRENTS:  WEST OF SKOOKUM PT: -1.8 @ 1139 / S @ 1513 / +1.64 @ 1813  EAST OF LIBBY POINT: -2.6 @1141 / S @ 1459 / +2.3 @ 1721ARCADIA TIDES: 14.7 @0722 / 2.8 @ 1352 / 12.8 @ 1935

    SUNRISE/SET: 0637/1808


I was surprised to see lingering snow as I drove down the road to our launch point at Walker Park.  The park was open when I arrived approx 0900.  As I wheeled my boat down to the beach I noticed that the small wooden bridge has been replaced by a culvert pipe so the paved road continues all the way down to the rocks along the shore now.  The others were due at 0930 but about 0915 Ann called me to tell me that due to a boat loading issue she and Patrick would be late. They arrived a little after 1000. The forecast and current conditions were so mild I opted to skip the bail out shuttle car at Arcadia.  We got on the water after our pre trip huddle and radio check at 1100.  Although this was at least half an hour later than planned no harm was done and this timing actually worked out well too. Patrick asked if we could do some work in currents and we did a bit of observation at Skookum Point before ducking around the corner where we discussed ferry angles and then used it to cross the short distance directly to Libby Point.  There was still a 2 knot current at Cape Hook so we spent a little time there playing in the eddy before proceeding on to Cape Cod.  We rafted up briefly to discuss our approach to Hope Island before deciding to go check out the ledge in front of Steamboat Island.  We were still a couple of hours away from max ebb but the water was still low enough to see the sudden drop off of the shoal beneath our boats with the green sea anemones and other marine life clinging to it. We made our way to the sunny south side of pretty Hope Island to the Washington Water Trails and State Park site, arriving at 1300 to eat our lunch at the picnic table and take advantage of the nice bathroom facility in the orchard. Mt Rainier wasn’t visible but the rest of the view was very nice in the bright sunshine and after an hour we loaded back up and headed back.  This time we went along the east side of Hope Island, seeing a raccoon on the shoreline who glanced at us as we went by.  Once back in the inlet we were met by some outgoing recreational boaters just before Libby Point and told there were sea stars on the exposed shoreline. We belted over to admire the bright purple, lavender, orange and red ones tucked into the wrinkles and slots of the rocks.  The sea star population has really suffered due to a wasting disease the last few years and we all literally cheered to see them.  It reminded me again how much I have missed those brilliant colors. Ann was having some concerns over her lower back so we had a brief bio break during which I gave her some ibuprofen from my kit.  We found a slowly disappearing surf wave just at Libby Point to do some playing and coaching on before proceeding on easily in the rising current to arrive at Walker Point just before 1700.  Good teamwork was applied to get the boats over the low rock wall.  Patrick helped Ann carry her boat to her car while he and I used wheels for ours.  After packing up and getting changed in the available bathroom at the park we had a brief post huddle with no complaints and thanks exchanged.  We all decided to go to the Fish Tale Ale House for a usual very good, if rather noisy, dinner.  Patrick left first and as Ann and I were leaving I was delighted to be greeted by Jean Fisher and Ron Jones who had come there for dinner.  After some chatting Ann and I left, ending a practically perfect winter paddling day.  All paddlers performed very well with excellent group dynamics.