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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Tacoma Narrows: Luhr Beach to Owen Beach downwind

A stormy paddle downwind from Luhr Beach through Tacoma Narrows to Owen Beach.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The car shuttle took 45 minutes in the morning from Owen Beach to Luhr Beach and about 55 minutes with a bit more traffic in the afternoon.

    Wind forecast was for South wind at 15-20kt with potential gusts to 35kt, moderating in the early afternoon and then picking up again in the evening. Actual conditions were South winds at 10-15kt with gusts maybe to 25kt in the morning and then 5-10kt in the afternoon with a few gusts to 15kt.
    There was  king tide in the morning at 15.5' at 9:15am. Outgoing currents to 3.1kt in the Narrows in the early afternoon.Capture.JPG

All arrived at Owen Beach on time and we were able to consolidate boats/gear into 3 cars for the shuttle. After a 45 minute shuttle we got to Luhr Beach and readied to launch. The tide was higher that we had ever seen it - over the concrete buttress wall and the wind was creating one foot waves with whitecaps coming out of McAllister Creek.

We launched at 10:05 and decided to head northeast across the wind at first to get closer to the east shore in case the wind became unmanageable. Once out in it, we found that the wind and waves were well within our capabilities and so headed straight downwind toward the north end of Ketron Island. We had some great surfing along the way and decided on our first break at Sunnyside Beach in Steilacoom. The ferry was off/onloading cars at Ketron and sounded her horn to warn us as we paddled past Steilacoom to Sunnyside Beach.

After break we continued into the Narrows, paddling under the bridge at mid-span. The wind subsided a bit once we were in the narrows and the north flowing current reduced the waves as well. From the bridge, we paddled directly to Point Defiance in relatively mellow conditions. We rounded the point and got into Owen Beach at around 2:45pm.

We saw porpoises and sea lions relatively close by along the way. We also heard lots of Coast Guard activity with capsized SUP, empty kayak, capsized skiff and capsized sailboat with folks in the water. All sounded like they were resolved successfully. It was a great day out in really fun conditions.S0589117.JPG