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Summer Journey to the Strait of Juan de Fuca – Day 1

It’s that time of year when once again I led a small group of paddlers up the Olympic Peninsula to do some paddling in and around Sequim and Port Angeles. On this year’s trip, I planned to lead them on a trip of Sequim Bay, Freshwater Bay, and around Protection Island, which is situated one mile off the Olympic Peninsula coastline.

The five-hour drive can be tiring. Thankfully, the drive along Hood Canal is very scenic as you hug the coastline and pass through the small towns of Potlatch, Hoodsport, Lilliwaup, and Brinnon before heading inland. Eventually I came upon Discovery Bay knowing my camping destination at Sequim Bay State Park was less than 15 minutes away.

I arrived at the campground and hour and a half before the 2 p.m. check-in time, so I decided to drive into Sequim to grab something to eat. There was a nice park in Sequim to sit, enjoy my lunch, and let my dog run while waiting for check-in.

I drove back to the campground to check in and start setting up camp before the first guest arrived. I had reserved a campsite closest to the bay—I had to register at midnight seven months earlier when the reservations opened to ensure I would get that campsite. Fortunately, the boat ramp construction Washington State Parks had warned me months ago would be taking place during my stay had been postponed, so I had an unobstructed view of the bay.

With construction to the boat ramp postponed, we were able to launch from the campground instead of having to drive to the John Wayne Marina to launch from the beach. We paddled along the western shore to Klapot Point for a glimpse of Protection Island—our Sunday destination in the Strait. We stopped to check out the shellfish research facility before continuing our paddle. The entire circumference of Sequim Bay is about 10 miles and can usually be covered by kayak in four hours. We wouldn't be paddling the entire perimeter of the bay because we still had work to do back at the campsite and dinner to cook.

Because we got a late start paddling and were so tired from our drive, we decided to head back to the put-in and forego skirting the eastern shore of the bay and cutting across when we were directly across from the campground. On our journey back, we took a slight detour so I could check out some launch possibilities around John Wayne Marina for a possible bioluminescence paddle the following night. While scoping out the shallow waters around the marina, I spotted two large rock crabs. Too bad I didn’t have a Washington shellfish license. Bet they would have tasted mighty good.

Back at camp, it was time to fix dinner and relax. We convened around the fire pit to enjoy a small campfire. I was surprised the state park was allowing campfires because of all the forest fires occurring around the region and burn bans in place. We kept the fire small.

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