(I’m writing on Friday, May 5, from this sheltered picnic table at at the Cascadian Marine Trail campsite on the western shore of Jones Island in the San Juan Islands, WA. I’m taking a day off. There is a small craft advisory issued for today. Here, in the morning, it seems like perfectly fine weather.)
Day 1, Sunday, April 30, 2017, Golden Gardens Park to Meadodvale County Beach Park.
At my daughters place in Sammamish, WA I was a wreck but still in control. The previous night I got two hours of sleep between 1 and 3 AM. Prying myself out of bed at 3 was brutal. Now, around 8:30 AM, just as I started tying the kayak to the car, the rain began to come down. Then it rained steadily. My daughter was to drive me to Golden Garden’s Park. My granddaughter Madaket came along. Thankfully. the skies began to clear when we got close to the beach.
The loading of the kayak took forever. As I was finishing up I realized I had TOO MUCH STUFF. I decided I would deal with that later and not ask my daughter to please wait 4 hours while I sort thru my stuff and decide which items won’t go.
The weather was now beautiful. I said goodbye. I showed the girls how I can balance brace nicely and take a nap lying in the water. Then I paddled north. My first action was a gang of bully sea lions behaving as they didn’t want me in their neighborhood. Toward the end I was heading across for Possession Point on Whidbey Island. I seemed to be going very slow and it was getting late. I decided to turn back and head downwind toward Meadowvdale County Beach Park. I made my landing and got my gear unloaded.
Ranger Doug came out to welcome me. I decided to ask if he would help me mail some things back to my daughter. I would take a day off on Monday, sort thru my gear, and ranger Doug would take me to a pack and ship place which was nearby.
Day 2, Monday, May 1, 2017 An unplanned day off.
I woke up in the morning with a headache. I certainly deserved to get sick after subjecting myself to sleep depravation for the past two weeks. It felt like dehydration to me. I set up my hammock tarp over the picnic table. By 2 PM I had sorted through the gear. I got the stuff packaged up at the store. I had given up about 30 pounds of gear consisting mainly of: my action cameras and accessories, my notebook computer, two external hard drives, notebook ac and dc power supplies, pyrotechnic signals and bear bangers, a portable chair and a tripod. Ranger Doug is a very kind gentleman and I consider him a Cascadian Water Trail Angel for the assistance he gave me.
Day 3, Tuesday, May 2, 2017, Meadowdale to Camano State Park
The alarm went off at 3 AM. I planned to start at first light and use the flood tide to help me as much as possible. Disappointingly, it was 6:30 before I was ready to go. I headed for Posession Point on Whidbey Island. I had a light headwind. I made it across in about an hour. I found a Harbor Seal that was sleeping with it’s eyes closed. It was unaware of my proximity of about 5 feet away and downwind. I slowly paddled away with waking it. I followed the Whidbey coast up to Sandy Point and then cut across the passage to Camano Island. There were many beautiful birds along the way. I was worried that this crossing might be difficult as the ebb had commenced. It was no problem, I was across in about 40 minutes. I kept close to the shoreline as the current became considerable. I made it about 22 miles to Camano State Park around 1:30. They had a new restroom that was beautiful but not one fawcett which I could use to fill my dromedaries. I used a sink and transferred water using my little tea kettle. What fun!
Day 4, May 3, 2017, Camano Island SP to Burrows Island
The previous evening I made plans to get through Deception Pass today. This made perfect sense since slack current was at 4PM. I could make it to Deception SP a few minutes after exiting the pass. I got up at 3 AM to make sure I would not be late. It was still raining in the morning. I was suprised to be ready to paddle at 6 AM. I had a south wind pushing me along for a while. Then the wind calmed to light and variable. I made it to Hope Island around 1 PM. Hope Island is just upstream of Deception Pass. I thought I would check out the campsite there and kill time before I went through. I met two local sea kayakers, Dave and Ed. They were going thru the Pass shortly. I decided to go with them. It was near peak ebb current. We went through Canoe Passage which is on right side when traveling west. It was boiling water. Just like the Mississippi River in hundreds of places. No problem. We went to Deception Pass SP. I decided to get a water fill up and continue to Burrows Island. There, I would be in a good position to cross Rosario Strait on Thursday morning. Getting up through Burrows Bay was a bit of a struggle with moderate northerly winds and some flood current working against me. I paddled all the way around the eastern shore of Burrows Bay. I got to the CMT campsite around 6 PM and I was very tired. I had paddled about 32 miles. The campsite had an abundance of mosquitos, the first M haven on this trip. The campsite was shaded from the setting sun so it was impossible to dry my tent out properly. I told myself: “Please, no more late days like this. What is the point?” I was knackered.
I woke up around 7 AM. I had slept at least 8 hours and felt good. When I got up I found the Island was fogged in. I went ahead with preparation assuming the fog would break up soon. I was ready at around 8:30. The fog was just breaking up. I started paddling anti clockwise around Burrows Island, then I crossed the narrow channel and followed Fidalgo Head to the west. By the time I got to point I could see the land across Rosario Strait clearly. This was great timing. I paddled northwest for quite a while then turned west toward Thatcher Pass. It was a warm and mostly blue sky day. I splashed water on my dry suit to stay cool. Late in the day as I passed around Crane Island I encountered some opposing current. I managed to keep up decent speed as I paddled into the current from Crane to Jones Island. In the last half hour the mostly clear skies had changed to overcast. When I had the kayak unloaded I could now hear the sounds of thunder cracking to the south. I worked fast to get the camp in order before the rain started. The rain came a bit too early but most everything was dry. I loathe setting up tents like my Big Agnes Happy Hooligan in pouring rain. I got my tarp setup over the picnic table. That mean’t I could sit at comfort and make dinner regardless of the rain. The weather forecast included small craft advisories for the next day. I decided to take a day off. After all, I was at one of the most beautiful kayak campsites I had ever been to. Additionally I had a pretty challenging paddle for the next section with some long crossings.
Day 6, Friday, May 5, 2017. Bad weather Zero Day at Jones Island.
It was great being able to sleep as late as I wanted. I had been thinking about blogging. I found out that WordPress.com had an iiOS app for blogging. This sounded perfect for me. I had experience with WordPress.org sites. I had good cellular service at the campsite. I opened a WordPress.com account and then got my domain connected to my account. Then I started typing this text. Things were going well. Around 1;30 PM I was tired of sitting. It was cold and raining off and on. I had down under my rain gear and was still cold. I decided to walk to the south end of the island to pay for my two night stay at the CMT campsite.
When I got to the south camp the air became full of what I thought were diesel fumes. I hate that smell. I wondered what was emitting them. My first thought was a piece of crap work boat which was putting tons of diesel vapors into the atmosphere. The smell became stronger as I walked near the South night on Jones Island. Then I could see the oil on the water which covered the bight as far as I could tell. I tried to photograph it as well as possible then I reported it. All this took several hours. I believe these kind of spills happen every day across the US. If the fuel is dumped from a boat that is passing by, it’s almost impossible to catch the perpetrators. It’s a sad situation. I’ve personally experienced these kind of spills in the Schukill River in Philadelphia and several times while paddling the Mississippi River.