Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Vashon Island Circumnavigation Completed!

Sunday January 20th, Aaron Rinn, Frenchy and I met up with Glenn at the North tip of Vashon Island. We took the Fauntleroy Ferry over from West Seattle and Glenn came from the Southworth station. In our quest to paddle around each of the Islands in the San Juans, Vashon would be our next target. We chose to cut off Maury Island with the portage and save it for another day.

Saturday called for partly cloudy skies, cold temperatures and heavy winds. The forecast was right on.

We were on the water by 10:20 and paddled clockwise around the Island. Glenn paddled with his GPS so we could get exact mileage and track our pace as we paddled. The heavy tailwind pushed up to 9+ miles per hour towards the portage (Labeled 'Portage' on the map). The waves also helped and we had a wild paddle down, only hoping the wind would die for our paddle North on the West side of the Island...wishful thinking.

Once through the portage the wind was blocked by the Island and we had a glassy paddle to the South side as we approached Tacoma and Mt. Rainier. Wish I would have brought the camera but it did not make this trip. The paddle North was a slog to say the least. We hugged the shore and tried to use the coves as shelter from the wind, probably blowing at 30mph, and the waves. At time we were paddling at 2.4 miles per hour and getting really wet.

Throughout the paddle we switched paddling partners and stretched out our legs. This helped ease the discomfort a bit. Although the wind was hindering our pace we did have the tide in our favor and this helped.

At about 4:45 pm we approached theNorth tip of the Island and we were treated to an unbelievable sunset. This is part of the reason we were out there...unbelievable nature sights all day. Another that stood out was a young bald eagle stalking a Grey Heron that was in the water...quite a sight. As we round the corner the waves from the open sound hit the sand bar and wer 6-8 feet...WOW. Frenchy asked Glenn a question in front of me and I heard som F bombs dropped and a statement we had heard before, "Dont stop paddling now!" We hammered up and down these short steep waves and right into the beach next to the ferry terminal.

Margaritas and burritos were on deck next and some revelry over our cold conquest...see you on the trails.

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