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Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Washington Park to Friday Harbor

A classic trip through beautiful but exposed waters. We went up the western side of Cattle pass in some very active water.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Winds from the SW up to 10 knot, generally 5 knot.  Seas half foot wind waves.  Rosario straight current 3.5 knot ebb.  Cattle Pass current 4 knot flood.  

We choose to not place a car at the ferry.  Someone had checked and reported the lower lot almost full.  

Met at 5:30 and launched at 7:00am.  Our heading was more or less toward "Bird Rocks".  Find that heading and hold it as the current slides you to the south and you'll cross the straight to arrive at Watmough Head.  

Boulder Island is reported to be a sanctuary so don't land there.  The beach near Boulder is private and may be visible to the upland houses so is not a recommended landing site.  We landed at a hidden little beach just on the south end of the east shore of Watmough Head.  

Paddle to Iceberg Pt had about a 0.5 knot current against us.  Probably a large back eddy from Rosario Straight.  Avoid this by working the eddies along the shore line.  It is a beautiful shoreline to paddle.  

Lunch break was at beach just on the north side of Iceberg Pt.  Rounding Iceberg Pt we encoutered a moderate south current.  

Launched from Iceberg Pt at 1:00pm.  We chose to paddle south of Hall Island and Long Island.  Waters were generally calm through this stretch.  There was perhaps a 1kt current pulling us north.  

Once around the southern extent of Long Island water became rougher with confused 1 to 2ft chop.  Stronger current was pulling us north.  We planned to go east of Whale Rocks but discovered that we could make it to the west side.  All were game for that and no one had paddled there so we continued to ferry across.  In the end we were closer to the west side of the pass.  Waters were very confused and choppy.  I had the impression this was created by currents flowing from the east or west and meeting here.  Something more than a strong northerly current was happening to create this chop.  

We could see the western shore of Cattle pass.  Close into shore, west of Goose Island, the sea seemed calm.  Shoreline held multiple houses.  

From Cattle pass we paddle a straight line to Turn Island.  Local lore has it that the current stream curves west of the straight line but we got a good boost from the current most of the way up to Turn Island.

Arrivd Turn Island about 1:00pm.  It is well worth stopping here for the good beach (west side) and beauty of the island not to mention the two bathrooms.  

Entering Friday Harbor we went around the east end of Brown Island, behind the ferry, past the fuel dock and to the kayak dock.  The harbor master met us and advised us of the preferred kayak approach.  here it is:

Pass west of Brown Island.  Paddle along the north-west shore of the harbor, circling counter clockwise around the docks.  Pass under one foot dock.  Kayak dock is near the dinghy dock.  

Caught the 3:45 ferry.

How to approach the kayak dock in Friday Harbor