- Radford Bean
Summer Journey to the Strait of Juan de Fuca – Day 2
After a decent night’s rest—I never sleep great when camping—I awoke to get ready to lead my group over to Freshwater Bay. We had to stop first at Adventures Through Kayaking (ATK) so one of the participants could rent a wetsuit for the weekend. Tammy and the folks at ATK are always friendly and accommodating. From ATK, it was just a short drive to the Freshwater Bay boat ramp where we met up with another paddler in the group.
The water looked calm, and weather conditions were favorable, so it looked like we were in for an easy paddle to Crescent Bay. There’s something really peaceful and calming when sitting in a kayak as it gently bobs up and down in the swells, the sort of the calming feeling you get while resting your head on a loved one’s chest as that person breathes in and out.
The only unknown to our paddle trip today—what wildlife we might spot along the way. Every time I visit Freshwater Bay, I witness something new—one visit it was a deer and raccoon along the water’s edge, the next visit my group spotted a family of four river otters playing in the water, and this last time it turned out to be schools of small fish, millions of them, along the shore from Freshwater Bay to Crescent Bay. It’s never the same twice at Freshwater Bay, and always the water is so crystal clear in the coves, allowing us to see the bottom and the shellfish and crabs that live there.
While exploring the coves, we crossed paths with a small tour group from ATK. I asked some in the group what they thought of the area. They replied that it was beautiful. Yes, Freshwater Bay is truly beautiful and why I keep coming back.
We pressed on, made our way past Salt Creek Campground, before finally reaching Tongue Point, which is the easternmost point of Crescent Bay. The surf at Tongue Point was reaching a height of four feet, and it was getting late, so I opted not to lead the group around the point and land at Crescent Bay. Beachgoers scrambled over the rocks of Tongue Point to investigate the marine life in the tide pools and take advantage of the view Tongue Point provides of Crescent Bay and the Strait.
On the return, I spotted a salmon leaping out of the water. The fish looked to be at least 15 pounds. It was actually one of three salmon I had seen on this trip, but the first one I had really gotten a good look at.
The water wasn’t as smooth and calm on the return trip, nothing serious, but water conditions were choppy enough to prolong our return trip. By the time we reached the put-in, we were all physically exhausted. Our exhaustion and the fact we needed to be up early tomorrow to paddle around Protection Island persuaded us to forego a bioluminescence paddle later this evening.