Nena and Bailey kayak in possibly the most beautiful place on earth and almost get run over by a cruise ship.
It's always been one of my dreams to ride along on a fishing boat and see fish being caught first hand. I just never expected this dream to manifest itself during one of my sea kayaking trips. This weekend it was accidentally realized when we found ourselves on a big fishing boat (sea kayaks on top), plowing through the waves of the English Channel towards Les Iles Chausey - a beautiful archipelago (52 islands at high tide, 365 at low tide) about an hour boat ride from Granville in Normandy.
Last week Elizabeth (American roomie in the Netherlands), Sara (outdoorsy traveling buddy from Virginia), and I made an epic road trip across Croatia (known there as Hrvatska - hence the "HR" stickers on all the cars). We started in Zagreb, the capital city, and made our way towards the coast, stopping at Plitvice Lakes National Park (stay tuned) along the way. We managed to kayak twice - once near Dubrovnik and once near Split. Our first trip took us through an ancient city (and a UNESCO world heritage site) called Trogir, ~30 minutes west of Split. Click Read More to see a gallery of photos and write-up of our kayaking adventure through this historic city!
I slept in a couple hours longer than Sara to try and rid myself of a standard migraine (which usually lasts through 2 or 3pm the next day). Around 10:30 we headed into town (Eastsound) for some coffee ands discovered pistachio fig chocolates and mint ice cream. Mmmm breakfast! At a little park on the north end of East Sound, Sara made some phone calls to work and Southwest baggage. Southwest informed her that her second bag, which contained all of her camping/hiking/running gear, was considered permanently lost. Southwest agreed to reimburse her for the cost of the items, with depreciation, but it’s not clear exactly what that means. It’s a sad day :(
Monday morning we “slept in” and made a dinner-breakfast of spaghetti with tomato sauce, supplemented with mushrooms and chard – yum! Sara and I packed up our tents and left camp earlier than the rest of the crew. Everyone else was headed back to Anacortes later that morning, but we were headed to Orcas Island to continue the second half of our San Juan Islands trip. Even after multiple calls to the Southwest Airlines baggage counter (at 3 different airports), there was no indication that Sara’s two checked bags would be delivered, so we headed into Friday Harbor to replace some of the lost items. A 45-minute shopping spree later, Sara was the proud owner of some new chacos, underoos, paddling gloves, and other items. We made the usual stops for water, ice, and coffee before boarding the inter-island ferry.
Another (attempted) early start! At 6:50am (only 20 minutes late) we departed the campsite, made a quick-ish coffee stop in Friday Harbor, and continued to our second San Juan Island kayaking destination: Haro Strait. This strait runs along the west side of San Juan Island and is known as the best location for orca whale sightings. The main public put-in site is at Smallpox Bay in San Juan County Park, which is apparently where a number of Indians plunged into the icy cold water to rid themselves of smallpox and instead died of pneumonia.
5am: it’s time to wake up for the earliest ferry! In classic Nena-style we (Nena/Sara/Bridget/Ale/Alex/Maria) took the first ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor at 6:25am. We were directed to Lane #4 where we parked, ate yogurt and cereal, and watched a gorgeous sunrise. We wandered into the waiting area and found a Seattle’s Best coffee machine, which delivered wonders for $1.50. “Now boarding the 6:25 ferry to Friday Harbor.” Oh crap, we return to the car just in time to board the ferry, parked behind another pair of kayakers and next to a massive flammable liquids truck. The ferry to Friday Harbor lasted ~1 hour.
For 4th of July Alice and I first decided to visit her favorite spot in Marin: Tennessee Valley. The hike takes you 1.8 miles from a parking lot through the lush valley to an open coast beach. Tennessee Cove lies between Muir Beach and Rodeo Beach - both of which we visited last year on a coastal paddle. Dark sand covers the narrow, steep beach at the end of the trail. Alice dodged crashing waves to run around a point and explore another narrow beach on the other side. Ten minutes later I began to wonder whether it was time to send out a rescue team, but she soon sprinted back around the point...
This is a blog about exploring the outdoors (mostly by kayak), traveling, trip planning, and coastal engineering. It currently focuses on kayaking in the Netherlands and Belgium, but previous posts cover Upstate New York, California, and much more. See the Complete List of Blog Posts for a history of the site. Looking for something specific? Search the site here.
In addition to the blog, check out the Water Nerd section, where I write about coastal engineering and hydrology.
Email updates on new blog posts, about once per month.
Click the "Read More" link at the bottom of each summary for more photos, to see an interactive map of the route, and to read about the adventure.
Maps in each blog post: Click the icons to learn more about the launch site (amenities) and destinations. Click the square in the bottom-left corner to see an aerial photo behind the route.