Whidbey Island is one of the best places in the Puget Sound region for both experienced and beginning sea kayakers. There are plenty of public access points to put in a kayak, and a varied coastline to explore. All this was brought to mind by a great blog post last week on The Sound Rowers News (See an excerpt at the bottom of this post).
As someone new to sea kayaking, I didn’t know where to begin until I discovered Anacortes Kayak Tours and their kayak tour at Deception Pass State Park at Bowman’s Bay. The Deception Pass tour isn’t specifically advertised as a “beginner’s” tour, instead they advertise it as “family friendly”, but it is definitely suitable for beginners. On my tour there were eight children and many adults who had never set foot in a kayak, and everyone had a great time, and felt perfectly safe the entire time. I highly recommend it. There are lots of other great places for beginners to kayak, from Holmes Harbor at Freeland, to Ala Spit on North Whidbey where you can paddle out to Hope Island State Park or across Saratoga Passage to La Conner.
Experienced sea kayakers may want to make a run through Deception Pass. With treacherous currents and rapidly changing tides, Deception Pass can be very dangerous, and is not for the inexperienced or unprepared. The annual Deception Pass Dash each December is a race for expert kayakers only, and is the subject of the article I referred to at the beginning. Here is the excerpt I promised:
By Jeff Knakal 12-4-10 Deception Pass State Park. “Over 150 human powered watercraft gathered at Bowman Bay for this year’s edition of the Deception Pass Dash. The day was cold, but calm and sunny. The organizers debated a start time of 1:00 or 1:05, trying to put us in the pass exactly at slack. If I can guess Deception Pass currents within an hour, I figure I’m doing pretty well. But their calculation was spot on making for perfect conditions (for the rowers anyway)….“