Spencer Spit (Sep 20-21, 2014)

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spencer_spit_coverConditions: overnight paddle
Gear: overnight gear
Map: SeaTrails WA001 Rosario Strait and Bellingham Channel/Padilla Bay, WA002 Lopez, Blakely and Decatur Islands/Shaw Island
Area: Anacortes, San Juan Islands
Reference: The San Juan Islands Afoot & Afloat
Stats: 19.45nm (22.38mi) (one way)

Gotta thank the others, mainly Bill and John, for organizing such a great trip! Wow.

This trip was a bit ambitious for me. I'd never crossed so much open water. This trip would push my comfort level a bit.

Day 1: Washington Park > Spencer Spit
We pushed off from Washington Park (Anacortes) about 8:40am. There were 11 of us total, so a big group. We started the paddle west toward Bird Rocks. The concern before the trip started was fog. Thankfully as we started it was to out left (south) a ways. We could see boats disappear into the fog bank and occasionally the tops of large ships as they emerged. The good news...the fog stayed south. GPS said about 3.15nm (3.63mi) to the south end of the rocks. We got to the rocks (~9:45am), a short time to break in the calm water and then time to continue on to Lopez Pass at 5.43nm (6.25mi) (10:35am). A skirt around the southern edge of Decatur Island and we landed at the north side of a small beach (~11am). It was an early lunch break. We found a beat up jellyfish (Lion's Mane I think) getting beat up along the sandy beach. By 11:20am we were back on the water paddling north. First we went east of Center Island, then east of Trump Island, then a short huddle south of the knob on the west side of Decatur Island before continuing north, into a good headwind, as we crossed Lopez Sound. We reached the spit about 12:50pm, 9.52nm (10.96mi) from Washington Park and after the boats were secured, the group scouted out campsites. The ones low down to the north of the spit were filled so we headed a bit uphill to the Marine Campsite. After camp was set up we settled into a relaxing afternoon and evening. I walked out to the end of the spit...took some photos of the marsh (stinky)... By evening we had a good campfire going.

Day 2: Spencer Spit > Friday Harbor
The day looked promising...the water was much calmer then the day before. By about 9:15am we were pushing off. We paddled through the narrow channel east of Frost Island, then east of Flower Island, then around the Humphrey Head and finally Upright Head at 2.99nm (3.25mi). From head the group decided to continue east to Shaw Island and we beached the boats at Indian Cove, a WWTA site, where we stopped for a short lunch at about 11:20am, 5.38nm (6.2mi). More jellyfish here, this time a moon jelly. By about 12:30pm we had reached the last point along Shaw Island before we'd need to cross the channel to Friday Harbor. At this point I'd thought the crossing of Rosario was the challenge...but looking across San Juan Channel the water was moving all over the place. Lots of rips. Eeek :) John picked a nice route around the worst of it and by about 1:30pm we were pulling into Friday Harbor 9.92nm (11.42mi) from Spencer Spit. The crossing only took an hour...seemed longer. One by one we pulled up, got out of the boats, had them pulled up onto the dock, and we tried to quickly sort out the wheels we'd all stowed so that we could push/pull the kayaks over to the ferry. We decided to not rush to catch the next ferry and instead decided to have an early dinner and catch the 4:15pm ferry back to Anacortes. Yana went for a walk while on the ferry and managed to bump into Stefan and Don...whodathunk we would have bumped into a couple of peak baggers on the ferry :)

Finally, just wanted to thank Kirsten for offering up the use of her Tyee for the weekend. Thanks so much! Not only was it nice to have ample leg room for a long trip...it was nice to try out a different boat. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you :)
Spencer Spit Slideshow


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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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