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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Squaxin Island Circumnavigation

This trip involved two simultaneous capsizes and was abandoned.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

12/10/16 -SAT –SK III—SQUAXIN ISLAND CIRCUMNAVIGATION.  APPROX  11 NM.LEADER: LISA A JOHNSON

PADDLERS: BOB BURRESON, JOHN DUNLAP, JEAN FISHER, SARAH LUX, BRIAN PREDMORE, PAUL SCHLOSSER, NELSON STANSBURY

TIDES/CURRENTS: DOFFLEMEYER TIDES: 5.5 @ 0754, 15.8 @ 1344, CURRENTS: PEALE PASSAGE:  .6 @1053, S @1247,  PICKERING PASSAGE: 1.2@ 1207, S @ 1418, SQUAXIN PASSAGE: +1.2 @ 1015, -1.5 @ 1633. 

CONDITIONS: SEAS 1-3’, WINDS S 7-15 KTS W/ GUSTS 18, SHOWERS, TEMPS 30S-40S, VISABILITY FAIR TO GOOD.

SIGHTED: CORMORANTS, SCOTERS, EAGLES, BROWN HEADED MERGANSERS, SEALS, KINGFISHERS, OTTER

 

This paddle was abandoned. 

All paddlers were on time and we launched at approx 0915 after a huddle during which all members declined an alternative route.  We proceeded in approx. 7 kt wind to Peale Passage side of Squaxin Island.  We arrived in the slight chop at the corner approx 45 minutes later.  Nobody opted for a break and we made good time to the north end, arriving approx 1115.  Again, nobody opted for a break and the decision was made to lunch on Hope Island so we then proceeded around the corner and soon sighted the small whitecaps in mid channel that confirmed the south wind that had risen to approx 12-14 kts. We hugged the shoreline to take advantage of the back eddy and had an extended bio/snack break about half way down in a somewhat protected spot.  We launched in the small shore break and continued on down to the bottom and crossed to Hope Island.  The water smoothed out once we were in the lee of the island but unfortunately the tide didn’t give us any shoreline so we continued on to the east side campsite where we hauled out on the midden shell beach and had lunch around the small boardwalk.  The crossing was an easy one to the opposite shore where we rafted up for a minute about 1400 before continuing onto the other side back into the wind.  The waves were higher and more chaotic due to the shallow shoreline and breakwaters built along the bottom of the houses along the point. We continued south along the shore about 10-15 minutes until I could see a break in the weather systems.   We rafted up to discuss our options.  One was for non-crossing members to go near Steamboat Island to be picked up later. All paddlers turned this down. Another was to proceed to Cooper Point and then cross to Boston Harbor with the cross wind and waves.  The decision was made to go  straight into the wind and waves directly back to the launch site and we began the 2 nm crossing in the slightly subdued wind.  The sea state predictably settled a little once away from the shore.  At first we made adequate time but by almost mid-channel we were no longer making progress.  John engaged a tow on Brian who immediately capsized. I called a halt to the front paddlers, paddled back to retrieve John’s floating stick as he maneuvered Brian’s boat to empty it.  Brian swam the approx 5’ to get on Bob’s bow and then Bob flipped. After three attempts to roll up he wet exited.  Brian moved to John’s bow and Bob to mine as I, being the next closest paddler, then emptied and assisted Bob back in. After checking the stability of the rest of the group I then assisted Brian to get his spray skirt on as John set up an assisted tow.  The front had moved in during this time and after being pushed northwest by the  rising wind and waves the closest safe landing was just south of Hunter Point. Nelson took my place assisting Brian while I twice unsuccessfully attempted to radio Bob who had moved on ahead with the rest of the group.  I landed first with the second group about 10 minutes later and was kindly assisted out with my boat in time for all of us to then do the same with the last three, landing around 3:30.  We then huddled to discuss our options. The decision was made to stay together rather than splitting the group to go to Boston Harbor for the cars. Jean told us that she had called Ron Jones who was on his way with a vehicle that could carry four people but no boats.  We had also been observed by Russ Duncan (9222 Hunter Pt Rd NW, Olympia, WA  98502 T:360.789.4555) in the house above us and after moving the boats up to the road level we gratefully took up his kind offer to come in and get warmed up in his beautiful home. Meantime Brian Hollander also responded to Jean’s cell phone that he was on his way with his van and could bring back 4 boats/paddlers which he showed up with shortly before Brian did. After a discussion it was decided that, as non-locals, Nelson, Paul, Brian and I would take our boats and go with Brian. Sarah, Jean and Bob rode with Ron and said they would pick up their boats the next day.  John made arrangements with somebody who showed up just as we were leaving. 

After loading up, we said our goodbyes and separately returned to the launch site where we transferred the boats/gear to our cars in the pouring rain.  I didn’t get to see/talk to the others before they left.  Paul and I were the last ones to leave after a successful search for his missing cockpit cover.

 All paddlers performed very well given their skills and experience levels, working together as a very effective team both on and off the water with exceptional group dynamics.  Special thanks to Bob and John for their organizational, rescue and towing efforts!  =)  And to Ron and Brian for the shuttles!

 

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