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  1. alexsidles

    Hein & Salmon Banks, Strait of Juan de Fuca, WA 6–7 Aug 2022

    [Cross-posted at alexsidles.com] The spring of 2022 had been a red-letter season for gray whales. Not only had I found gray whales on my usual whaling grounds in Possession Sound, I had also encountered them off Kalaloch and Cape Flattery on Washington’s Olympic coast, and even a lone gray...
  2. alexsidles

    James Island, San Juan Islands, WA 30–31 July 2022

    [Cross-posted on alexsidles.com] In our latest family adventure, my dad and I paddled my kids, Maya and Leon, out to James Island for the weekend. 00 Route map. The fee for overnight parking at Washington Park has increased to nine dollars per night, cash only. The route from the mainland to...
  3. alexsidles

    Whidbey Island, north Puget Sound, WA 1–4 July 2022

    [Cross-posted at alexsidles.com] Over the Independence Day weekend, I circumnavigated Whidbey Island, a route of some ninety-four miles (150 km). To hit the east-setting flood in Deception Pass, I would need a pre-dawn start Saturday morning. I drove up to Bowman Bay on Friday evening to camp...
  4. alexsidles

    Triangle Island, Cape Scott, BC 16–21 June 2022

    [Cross-posted at alexsidles.com] Triangle Island is the most remote island in BC, excepting the islands of Haida Gwaii. Haida Gwaii hardly counts as remote, though, in light of the thousands of people who live there, with their cars and ferries and planes. By contrast, Triangle Island has not...
  5. alexsidles

    Sucia Island, San Juan Islands, WA 11–12 June 2022

    [Cross-posted on alexsidles.com] Hey, it's my 500th post! Long live WCP! At last, our schedules aligned with the weather, and we were able to take our first kayak-camping trip as a complete family: Rachel and me, and Maya and Leon. With its gentle beaches, protected waters, and wide open...
  6. alexsidles

    Jones Island, San Juan Islands, WA 14–15 May 2022

    [Cross-posted on alexsidles.com] Late spring is one of the best times to visit the San Juan Islands. By mid-May, most of the warblers, flycatchers, and swallows have arrived. The seabirds have largely departed, but the ones that remain are all in their spectacular breeding plumage. The days are...
  7. alexsidles

    Wingehaven, central Puget Sound, WA 30 April–1 May 2022

    [Cross-posted at alexsidles.com] I’ve been taking my daughter, Maya, camping since before she was three years old. My son, Leon, turned two years old in April. To celebrate, I took him on his first-ever kayak-camping trip, along with Maya. My wife, Rachel, wasn’t able to join us, but my dad...
  8. alexsidles

    Kalaloch, Olympic coast, WA 16–17 April 2022

    [Cross-posted at alexsidles.com] One of my favorite parts of Washington State is Kalaloch. Here on the western edge of the Olympic Peninsula, Highway 101 bends close to the ocean shore. Every couple of miles is some new scenic overlook, with long sandy beaches to explore. As is true of most...
  9. alexsidles

    Possession Sound, north Puget Sound, WA 9 April 2022

    [Cross-posted on alexsidles.com] The sounders are a small population of gray whales that pause their annual springtime migration to loiter in Possession Sound. While most gray whales proceed directly from Baja to Alaska, the sounders spend several months foraging for ghost shrimp in the inland...
  10. alexsidles

    Cape Flattery, Olympic coast, WA 27 Mar 2022

    [Cross-posted at alexsidles.com] Cape Flattery, on Washington’s Olympic coast, is the northwesternmost point of land in the Lower 48 contiguous United States. It is also home to Washington’s best sea caves. March is a little early in the season to brave the open coast, but with only a...
  11. alexsidles

    Gabriola Island, Gulf Islands, BC 19–21 Feb 2022

    [Cross-posted at alexsidles.com] Over President’s Day weekend, I took a chance on the weather and circumnavigated Gabriola Island. Wind on the middle day of the weekend reached twenty-five knots, too strong for comfort, so I took a weather day and visited some of island’s famous petroglyphs...
  12. alexsidles

    Race Rocks, Strait of Juan de Fuca, BC 29 Jan 2022

    [Cross-posted at alexsidles.com] Following an earlier, unsuccessful attempt in summer 2020, I tried once more to find elephant seals on Race Rocks, this time in winter. As previously, I launched from Angeles Point in Washington and paddled across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Race Rocks, then...
  13. alexsidles

    Vashon Island, central Puget Sound, WA 22–23 January 2022

    [Cross-posted on alexsidles.com] Over the weekend, I circumnavigated Vashon Island, launching from the mainland at the Des Moines marina and paddling clockwise around the island, a distance of about thirty-five miles. At the halfway mark, I camped at the Cascadia Marine Trail campsite at...
  14. alexsidles

    Deception Pass Challenge 2021

    This year's Deception Pass Challenge race (formerly, Deception Pass Dash) sounds like a bit of a goat rope: "Coast Guard 13th District watchstanders received reports at approximately 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, that several kayak and paddlecraft users capsized during the paddling and rowing...
  15. alexsidles

    Sand Island, lower Columbia River, OR 20–21 Nov 2021

    [Cross-posted on alexsidles.com] Sand Island and East Sand Island lie in the mouth of the Columbia River. Although the islands are closer to the mainland of Washington than Oregon, they are actually on the Oregon side of the boundary. That the boundary runs north of the islands is due to the...
  16. alexsidles

    Carr Inlet, south Puget Sound, WA 23–24 Oct 2021

    [Cross-posted at alexsidles.com] A strong low-pressure cyclone off the west coast was wreaking havoc over the weekend across broad swathes of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. At its strongest, the storm was the deepest low-pressure system ever recorded off Washington. Even from...
  17. alexsidles

    Kinney Point, Admiralty Inlet, WA 25–26 Sept 2021

    [Cross-posted at alexsidles.com] During an earlier visit to Strawberry Island, Maya developed an interest in the nearby and much larger Cypress Island. I promised to take her camping at Cypress Head, but when the time came, the currents were flowing the wrong direction for a morning run to...
  18. alexsidles

    Strawberry Island, San Juan Islands, WA 4–6 Sept 2021

    [Cross-posted on alexsidles.com] Rachel and I began taking Maya kayak-camping in the summer of 2019, when Maya was not quite three years old. All along, I’d been planning to take her to Strawberry Island, my favorite place on Earth. Finally, this year, Maya was old enough that I felt...
  19. alexsidles

    Gray's Canyon, continental slope, WA 21–22 Aug 2021

    [Cross-posted on alexsidles.com] Some of my happiest memories have been of close wildlife encounters by kayak: visits to puffin colonies, meetings with various species of whales, face-offs with bears. In a kayak, as opposed to a motorized vehicle, I meet the animals on their terms. What happens...
  20. alexsidles

    Salmon Bank, San Juan Islands, WA 7 Aug 2021

    [Cross-posted on alexsidles.com] My dad and I made an unsuccessful run to Salmon Bank in search of minke whales. From South Beach on San Juan Island, we paddled out two and a half miles into the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the bank, where we loitered for an hour, listening for whale breaths...
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