Strait (Part 4)

   
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Strait (Part 3)
Strait (Part 2)
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Hammersley Inlet
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Elkhorn Slough

Report from Ken
03/17/2006

This was the final leg in a 135-mile trip from Port Townsend to Neah Bay. On the first day (St. Paddy's Day), Gary McCall and I set out from Pillar Point after doing the shuttle at about 11:00 am. Pillar point was impressive, the huge monolith perched just above the flat, calm water. After rounding the point, both Gary and I wound our way through a seemingly endless route of rock gardens. Seals were hauled out at a couple points along the way and the swell running through the rocks was just enough to keep it interesting but not so much that there were any difficulties.

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2006 Azimuth Expeditions. All rights reserved

This was the "wildest" section of the entire trip, with no houses, roads or any other form of human impact visible at any time along the way. We paddled the 9 miles into Sekiu in about 4 hours, fighting a deceptive current and 20-knot winds on our crossing of Clallam Bay at the end of the day. After setting up camp at Olson's Resort, we walked to the Spring Tavern for a couple rounds of beer and darts with our fellow St. Pat's revelers.

The next morning, Gary and I were joined by Michael, who had driven out to meet us in the night. We shuttled a vehicle to Neah Bay, then returned to Sekiu and got on the water at about 9:00 am. Paddling conditions were quite windy at the start, but we made good progress. After the mouth of the Hoko River, Highway 112 follows the shoreline all the way to Neah Bay, so even though we were further west, the coast didn't seem quite as wild as it had the day before.

As we were approaching Seal Rock and Sail Rock, two large offshore stacks a couple miles east of Neah Bay, we saw a whale blow in the distance. He seemed to be moving the same direction we were so we never really got a good look at him, but it's still a very powerful feeling knowing that we share the water with such large and wonderful creatures. Seal Rock and Sail Rock were very cool; big, stark, stone monuments to the power of the wind and water.

We touched shore at Neah Bay at about 4:00 pm. The wind was blowing hard now, but we didn't care. The trip had been completed and numerous sites along the way had been identified for possible inclusion in the proposed extension of the Cascadia Marine Trail. The hope is that, as time goes by, sites for kayakers will be added to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and that one day soon, the route we had taken from Port Townsend to Neah Bay will be a part of an expanded trail system.

Now, where to next?

 

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