Kayaking Cape Flattery

Cape Flattery at the northwest tip of Washington, where the currents from the Straits of Juan de Fuca get twisted up with the wind and waves of the Pacific Ocean is a very dynamic place and a rewarding experience. We start by launching through the surf at Hobuck Beach, hopefully with a low enough tide that the offshore reefs cut down the swell a bit.

From there to the cape one is exposed to the raw open conditions of the ocean, with the hazards of large swells humping up over isolated reefs to heights of 15 feet or more and a shoreline of waves crashing against cliffs. One learns to take advantage of the view from swell top to look for these spots and to keep track of your team members that are often out of sight in the troughs.

The reward is the myriad caves, tunnels, and arches at the cape. Even though the water may look flat in the photos, there is always a surge pushing, pulling, rising and falling. The labyrinth of rocks cuts down the slam and the kelp smooths it out further, but one can get squirted around, left high and dry momentarily, or pushed into the back of narrowing caves. It's dynamic and extremely beautiful. Full exploration along with the lengthy paddle from Hobuck to Neah Bay takes a full day.

Sea life can be numerous depending on whether the baitfish are around or the salmon running. Grey whales are often seen. One came up in front of me in rough seas and I had to reverse paddle as hard as I could to keep from running into it. Besides the risk of making him thrash, the fluke had not yet come out of the water. Whew that was close. I missed him by a few inches.

These photos are from more than one trip, mostly taken during nicer weather. A few of the photos were taken by Glee and Albin.

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