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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - McNeil Island Circumnavigation

A really nice paddle on a mild day with lots of wildlife activity.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • TIDES: STEILACOOM: 1.8@0558/ 14.2@1309 / 4.0@2080

    CURRENTS: BALCH PASSAGE: +1.5@0814 / S@1227,  PITT PASSAGE: +1.1@0805 / S@1124 / -1.4@1517, GIBSON PT: +2.6@1004 / S@1315 / -1.6@1656, NARROWS SOUTH: +4.4@0925, S@1251, -3.0 @1646.

    CONDITIONS: SEA CALM TO SLIGHT CHOP, LITTLE OR NO BREEZE,  MOSTLY CLOUDY,  TEMPS 40S – 50S,  VISABILITY GOOD

    SIGHTED: BUFFLEHEADS,  CORMORANTS, SCOTERS, LOONS, SEALS, SEA LIONS, PORPOISES

 

Everybody arrived on time and we launched approx 0945 and headed across the quiet channel to the south side of the island arriving at Eagle Island an hour later.  After approx 20 minutes we continued in the dying current to Pitt Passage where we had a rafted up short discussion before heading to the other side to land at 1145 at a suitable lunch spot.  The wind and waves picked up a bit as we ate and it helped to push us past tiny (and access forbidden) Pitt Island.  Once around the island we had little or no effects and continued on to arrive at Gertrude Island at 1400.  This is actually a tombolo and access is allowed when the headland becomes an island.  A couple of us pulled in long enough for a bio break in the shallows (there are not many places to land other than the south end) before continuing on.  By the time we reached the east end of McNeil we found the wind had virtually died off and after a short pause for ferry angle calculations we had an easy crossing, arriving at the Steilacoom boat launch on the much higher tide with no carry at 1500.  Once loaded up and changed we had a brief post paddle huddle and then Steve, Matt and I opted to go for a drink at the nearby pub.   All paddlers performed well with excellent group dynamics.  Photo credit: Matthew Pahs

 

 

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