Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Stretch & Reach Islands

Figure-eight circumnavigation of Stretch and Reach Islands and view of Victor Petroglyph

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

A group of seven Mountaineers, all from Olympia Branch, launched from Allyn Waterfront Park at 1000. The forecast was for winds in the 5kt range, but Windy had gusts NE to 24kt in the afternoon. Actual conditions were 5-10kt from the south all morning.

We traveled south along the shoreline enjoying a 2-2.5kt pace. Crossing between Reach and Stretch Islands, we stopped for lunch at Stretch Point State Park. There are no restrooms at the park, however there is enough cover to do business surreptitiously.

During lunch there was much swapping of kayaks and gear, sharing of opinions and knowledge. On such a fine day, 67 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, this spilled over into water play and an impromptu rolling mini-clinic for two participants who wanted to level up their skill set.

Finally, and reluctantly, we headed back out on our circumnavigation to find the south wind persistent along the eastern shore of Stretch Island. The group picked up the pace a little cruising at 3-3.5kt past the most beautiful coastline we would see on the trip. We stopped to investigate a seal carcass awash on the beach. How did it die? Is there an authority to which it should be reported?

Rounding the south end of Stretch, and with the wind at our backs, we flew through the passage between the island and mainland with the incoming tide now in our favor. As we left the north tip of Reach, a light wind came from the north. We set up a long vector to an undeveloped area several hundred yards north of Rocky Point. This is a good place for a bio-break on a route that has few opportunities. On this day there was a shipwreck on shore, formerly the Gayle Rider, that offered privacy as well. More water play.

Our final stop before returning to the launch was at the Victor Petroglyph. As a rough guide, I used this non-Mountaineers-affiliated trip report: https://alexsidles.com/trip-reports/case-inlet-26-dec-2020. The author describes an 8-foot tide which left the petrogylph several feet from the water. We arrived at approximately 10.3 feet and with only 1 foot of exposed beach were afforded a up-close view. The petroglyph is on private tidelands, and the homeowner watched us intently from the house. On a higher tide, say 12 feet, we could have viewed the back side. All participants seemed awed by its presence and mystery. Consider the light when viewing the petrogylph. With the sun in the west, there were no shadows on the reliefs carved into the rock, and so the well-worn faces were difficult to ascertain. Try for the sun in the east or due south.

On the crossing back to Allyn a NNE wind gusted to 15kt.