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Bellingham Bay/Chuckanut Bay Paddle

Description:  We are going to paddle south from Squalicum Harbor around Bellingham Harbor, to Fairhaven, to Chuckanut Bay, around Chuckanut Bay, and to take-out at Wildcat Cove in Larrabee State Park.  This will be a one-way paddle with a car-shuttle.  While we'll progress steadily southward, this paddle's schedule and pace assume a variety of sightseeing meanders and shore-stops along the way.

Sign-up Requirements:

This is an 11 nautical mile paddle that may be subject to wind waves and boat wakes.

To sign up for this paddle, you need to be an advanced novice, intermediate, or beyond paddler, you must have bracing, re-entry, and rescue training, skills and practice, and you must be able to paddle at a sustained 3 knots pace.  The required kayaking experience and skills need to be documented in your meetup-profile information and your answers to the sign-up questions.  If you do not answer the sign-up questions, your RSVP will be deleted.

Schedule and Itinerary:

9:00 a.m. - arrive at Squalicum Harbor, off-load the kayaks, and car shuttle to Wildcat Cove (20-minute drive each way).

10:30 a.m. - launch and paddle 3.5 n.m. south to Fairhaven

~ 12:00 noon - lunch at Marine Park in Fairhaven.

~ 1:00 p.m. - paddle 3 n.m. south to a stop at North Chuckanut Bay Park, paddle approx. 3 n.m. exploration around Chuckanut Bay, and paddle 1.5 n.m. south to Wildcat Cove.

~ 4:30 p.m. - take-out at the Wildcat Cove Boat Ramp (approx. location 346 Pleasant Bay Road, Bellingham, WA) in Larrabee State Park and complete any required return car-shuttle.

~ "five-o-clock somewhere"? optional beverage and dinner at the Oyster Bar, 2578 Chuckanut Drive, Bow, WA 98232.

Carpooling and Logistical Details

Carpooling is encouraged.  After there is some sign up, sign-up-ees can arrange carpooling amongst themselves.  For a carpool meeting location, the south end of Ash Way Park and Ride, 16327 Ash Way, Lynnwood, WA (northwest of I-5 Exit 183, 164th St. SW), at approx. 7:15 a.m., is suggested.

Bring a bicycle lock and cable if you have them for securing the kayaks at any semi-urban shore stops.  Not everyone needs to bring a cable and lock; one set can secure several kayaks.

Car-shuttle parking at Wildcat Cove requires a Discovery Pass.

Conditions and Contingency:

This paddle is contingent upon reasonably safe wind and weather conditions. If the weather conditions are unsafe for this paddle, the paddle will be revised to a protected paddle, possibly a loop inside Chuckanut Bay, or rescheduled.

Equipment Requirements:

Kayak, paddle, pfd, paddlefloat, pump, sprayskirt, sunglasses, sunscreen, water and snacks, picnic lunch, waterproof paddle jacket and hat in case of rain, warm clothes for any shoreside adventures, bicycle lock and cable if you have them, VHF radio if you have one, immersion gear.

Immersion Gear:

Wearing immersion gear (drysuit or wetsuit) is mandatory for this paddle.

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  • Kathy T.

    Sure was great day. Thanks Aaron for the pics. My favorite one is the seal!

    October 15, 2013

    • Aaron S

      Thanks, Kathy, for clueing us in to where the seals hang out in Bellingham Bay. :)

      October 15, 2013

  • Aaron S

    10.8 n.m. paddling distance, including the paddle back to the small park in the northeast corner of Chuckanut Bay. There are four distinct portions to this trip (north to south): (1) Bellingham Harbor has lots of fascinating marine industry, miscellaneous waterfront sights, and nice views of the city. (2) Fairhaven has lots of interesting upscale waterfront sights, amenities and parks. (3) From Fairhaven southward for about a mile and a half, and on the backshore of Chuckanut Bay, the shoreline is scarred by the railroad, which blasted out the sandstone shoreline and put its own riprap embankment on the shoreline the whole way. (4) The shore from about a half mile north of Chuckanut Bay, the north and south ends of Chuckanut Bay, its two small islands, and southward to Larrabee State Park have lots of natural beauty. Both the launch and take-out for this paddle are good, convenient water-access locations. The car shuttle between the two sites is an easy 20-minutes each way.

    October 15, 2013

  • Robert T.

    Did you find the petrified palm tree?

    October 14, 2013

    • Aaron S

      Heck yeh, Bob. Take a look at the pix!

      1 · October 14, 2013

  • George B

    Aaron: you didn't get me as having attended.

    October 14, 2013

    • Aaron S

      George, right there on the attendees if I'm not mistaken. Am I missing something?

      October 14, 2013

  • Aaron S

    Thanks to all three enthusiastic paddlers for another fine journey and grand-tour adventure. Lotta fine scenery and sights on this delightful journey with enjoyable companions all-around.

    October 14, 2013

  • Aaron S

    See everyone in the morning. If there are any coordination issues, I am at cell phone[masked]-3015. Does anyone plan to be at the Ash Way Park and Ride for carpooling?

    October 12, 2013

  • Bill T.

    Hey All - I'm still planning on paddling with you tomorrow but won't be able to participate in the shuttle. I'll probably paddle half way to the take-out and then head back to the put-in so that I can be heading South on I-5 no later than 4:30. I need to give myself enough time to make it to the Bonnie Raitt concert Sunday evening.

    Sorry for the late notice.

    October 12, 2013

    • Aaron S

      Bill, this is easy. We'll leave your car at North Chuckanut Bay Park and you can take-out there. It's right along our car shuttle route. You can leave when we stop there at about 2:15 p.m., or any time thereafter. The driving time from there to Seattle is 1 hour 30 minutes. If you want to Google Maps it, use address 1600 Fairhaven Avenue, Bellingham, WA.

      October 12, 2013

  • Robert T.

    A 'must see' is the petrified palm tree in the sandstone at the north end of Chuckanut Bay.

    1 · October 7, 2013

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