Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Whidbey Island to Port Townsend

12 NM "triple crossing" from Fort Casey to Port Townsend to Fort Flagler and return. Mountain views aplenty, pizza and coffee along the way!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • After the morning fog and marine layer cleared at 10:00AM, conditions were crystal clear and calm.  We encountered minimal vessel traffic (ferry, pleasure boat, and tug under tow).  Only one WSF (KENNEWICK) was running the route from Port Townsend to Coupeville Ferry Terminal, and our routes stayed well clear to the north and south except for the crossing from Port Townsend to Marrowstone Island. 

Four kayakers set out for Port Townsend and Fort Flager (Marrowstone Island) from the Fort Casey State Park boat ramp adjacent to the Coupeville Ferry Terminal at 10:37AM.  The original plan called for a 10:00 departure, but we waited for the morning fog layer to completely clear before launching.  The boat ramp and large gravel lot opposite the ferry terminal requires a Discover Pass to park.  There are bathrooms equipped with both an indoor and outdoor shower.


After the ferry departed we paddled to Admiralty Head and then transited southwest towards the channel where the leader paused to inform VTS of our intention to cross via CH 5A.  During the channel crossing two kayakers deployed a sail which provided a modest boost in the light winds.  Due to the delayed start the group decided to bypass Fort Worden and head directly for lunch in Port Townsend, completing the ~4.4 NM first leg of the trip.


The group spent an incredible hour in Port Townsend at the Tyler Street Plaza beach just east of Quimper Mercantile and the ferry terminal, also conveniently located next to Better Living Through Coffee and Waterfront Pizza, where every got at least one slice.  The plaza is equipped with several tables/chairs and picnic tables.


After a relaxing hour of pizza and coffee, the group set off again at 1:30 PM for the 1.9 NM crossing south to Marrowstone Island and the Fort Flagler marine trail campsites for a brief look about and bio break.  There are two nice campsites hidden in the trees east of the RV sites before the bluff begins.


The group returned to our kayaks around 2:30PM for the final ~5.5 NM back to Fort Casey and the Coupeville Ferry Terminal.  We transited east at the base of the bluffs where four parasailers were playing in the light wind.  We regrouped at Marrowstone Point before launching northeast into the channel's 2kt ebb current.  Swells were a little higher on the return crossing, however once we crossed the channel, we were able to easily ride the current in an arc north back to the terminal, where we ended the trip at 4:12PM, pausing to allow the KENNEWICK to dock before we beached.

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The opinion was unanimous - we couldn't have hoped for better conditions, and this trip definitely ranks as my personal favorite of the last year.  The comfort food and break at Port Townsend was the best, and the views were stunning.  Every major mountain was out - Baker, Shuksan, Whitehorse, Three Fingers, Glacier Peak, Pilchuck, Rainier, Gray Wolf, and the endless ridges of the Olympics.   Next time we're packing the camping gear!