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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Hope Island

Hope Island Reef Peek with the year's lowest weekend tide of -3.7'.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Winds 3-5 knots. Sunny. Warmed to low 70's in afternoon.  The parking at the launch site is free and there is plenty of it. But the boat launch is a long road to the water (1/8 mile) and no turn around and can get busy so it's important to respect the boaters and not be disruptive to their needs.

Each year I look for the lowest tide which typically occurs in early June before the summer solstice. A minus 3.7' tide is perfect for viewing a shoal that extends off the south shore of Squaxin Island, just east of Hope Island. 

I normally lead this trip from Boston Harbor marina but proposed construction forced me to move the launch to Arcadia Point. It's a good spot to launch with plenty of options. However, since it shortens the trip, I decided to explore a mile up Hammersley to give basic course students and others some experience with currents. It was a great learning opportunity. 

The plan was paddling by 9:30, but we were all finally ready at 9:45 and paddling away.



The current at Libby Point, further west, was running 3.68 knots and I suspect it was around that speed just east of Cape Horn where  made one ferry glide across. I didn't get a great photo of the current unfortunately. We stopped on a headland and looked at and discussed how a ferry glide works, and how to enter the current.  I led the group, with Jean Fisher, Assistant leader sweeping. Everyone got something out of it. I circled back from a couple folks who needed more boat angle. After discussing the experience on the far side, we paddled up to Cape Horn and  peeled into the current and rode it out of the inlet. 



We then paddled over to Hope Island, going around the south side. We stopped on Hope Island for lunch, and got back in our boats to go explore the shoal at 12:30PM just before low tide. We spent about 40 minutes exploring. 


Hope Island is home to a robust population of Raccoons. A treat was seeing a standoff between an eagle and raccoon. The raccoon wisely backed away.


We were able to view lots of marine life at low tide. Sea cucumbers, crabs (rock and spider), lots of active bi-valves, moon snails, sea stars, jellyfish of many types, and of course plenty of seals dancing around. 




Our group of 9 at the shoal with the Olympics in the background. 


We ended up with 7.7 miles and 5 hours time. A great day to be out and boat traffic was minimal considering it was summer and warm.