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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Henderson Inlet

Bring a camera to photograph marine life. The kayak launch will close September 1 - April 15 each year. Avoid trying to land or explore during low tide.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Launching from Woodard Bay Conservation Area kayak launch is dependent on the time of year. The kayak launch will close September 1 - April 15 each year. The bank leading to the water is steep and kind of slippery. At least 9.5 ft of tide is needed to launch.



Patrick McSherry

Henrique Castro

Laura Huddleston 

Weather conditions on 8/17/2019 were overcast, 68~75 f, winds weak to 5mph from South.

Currents in Henderson Inlet are weak, as they ebb and flow with the tide. The following data represent the current conditions in Dana Passage during our transit;

Station ID:       PUG1539  

Station Name:     Dana Passage

Units:            knots    

Mean Flood Dir:   242° (T) 

Mean Ebb Dir:     49° (T)  


Date       Time (LST/LDT)   Event      Speed (knots)

2019-08-17 07:12 AM         slack            -

2019-08-17 10:18 AM         ebb          -2.38

2019-08-17 02:00 PM         slack            -

2019-08-17 04:36 PM         flood         2.05

Tide conditions were as follows:

Station Name: Henderson Inlet

Station ID: 9446752

Units: Feet

Datum: MLLW

Date                      Day        Time                      Pred      High/Low

2019/08/17         Sat          07:03 AM            11.86     H

2019/08/17         Sat          01:45 PM             0.03        L

2019/08/17         Sat          08:26 PM             13.85     H




The SK rating for this paddle was SK-II+

The launch site was the Woodard Bay Conservation Area parking lot. Participants arrived within 30 minutes of the intended meeting time, and reported no trouble finding the launch site. Laura was delayed by an unanticipated traffic incident on I-5 near Tacoma. When she arrived, we stationed Henrique’s vehicle to Boston Harbor for the shuttle back to the launch site at the end of the paddle. During the beach talk, Laura noticed that her paddle was left at home. We did not have an extra paddle amongst us, and we tried unsuccessfully to obtain a paddle from Boston Harbor Marina. By this time Woodard Bay was draining quickly with the out-going tide. We discussed the situation amongst ourselves and decided to load Laura’s equipment back in her car and proceed with 2 participants. Henrique and I paddled out of Woodard Bay and turned South to explore Henderson Inlet for as far as the water would take us. We turned around at a point about 2.5 NM from where we started. Along the way we observed sea otters, cormorants, and blue herons. On the trip North we paddled along the opposite bank, as we observed the effect of the out-going tide on the shore line current. As we approached Gahm Peninsula, we cut back across Henderson Inlet heading toward our intended lunch break area at the Woodard Bay peninsula park. We observed the harbor seals that marked the boundary of their breeding area, and we were careful not to stress them with our presence. Henrique and I paddled into Chapman Bay and saw raccoons, blue herons, and another sea otter. When we landed at the picnic area, we had managed to cover 5.5 NM. Low tide is not an optimal time to land in this area. The ground is very soft and our feet sank about 4 or 5 inched into the mud with every step. During lunch we explored the park and took the time to read the historical information posted at various spots. After lunch we proceeded North in Henderson Inlet while avoiding the harbor seals. At Libby Point we crossed out of Henderson Inlet and into Dana Passage. We had covered 8NM inside Henderson Inlet. In Dana Passage the wind was noticeable but not more than 5kts. The area was covered by boats participating in a fishing derby. Upon reaching Big Fishtrap and Little Fishtrap we found the low tide would prevent us from exploring. Henrique and I landed for a short time to have a snack, drink some water, and weigh our options for the remainder of the trip. Henrique was telling me about his upcoming paddle at Chuckanut Bay the next day. We thought it would be a good idea to make a short day of it and continue to Boston Harbor. At 4:30PM we arrived at Boston Harbor we had managed to cover 11NM in 5 hours of paddling time and 1 hour lunch/shore exploration. We loaded Henrique’s boat and gear into his vehicle, along with my gear. My boat was left behind temporarily for the shuttle back to the Woodard Bay parking area where I retrieved my vehicle. We both returned to Boston Harbor, loaded up my kayak/gear, and headed for the Fish Tail Tavern in Olympia for and early dinner to ruminate on the days activity.