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Paddling Paradox: Autumn Paddling in the San Juan Islands

We paddled around the small headland and entered a glassy pool that reflected dark conifers.  It was another world entirely than the one we just departed. The early evening light softened the scene into lazy shadows and rich colors. We relaxed when we heard the soft crunch of sand as our kayaks come to rest on the beach. Just an ... Read More »

Stars and Sand: Camping in the Broken Group Islands

With their awe-inspiring natural beauty, the Broken Group Islands (BGI), located in Barkley Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, have become a Mecca for paddlers from around the world. Established as part of Canada’s Pacific Rim National Park, this cluster of more than 100 islands is famous for its vibrant and diverse marine life and paddling opportunities for ... Read More »

Fighting the Surge – A Lesson in Solo Paddling

My knees betray me and release their hold on my cockpit as I try to roll up my kayak. I consciously force them back into the thigh braces as I set up for yet another attempt. After seven or eight tries I’ve lost count, and almost stop caring. The coach in my head keeps saying, “Don’t you come out of ... Read More »

Springtime on the Salish Sea: Paddling the San Juan Islands

The flat two-mile crossing was anything but notorious. I was almost disappointed. We’d dragged our kayaks onto the ferry in Anacortes at oh-dark-hundred, disembarked at the Orcas Island terminal and waited for our transportation, loaded boats and gear into a van that took us across the island through Eastsound, unloaded our boats and gear at Terrill Beach, and then began ... Read More »

A Journey Home: The Skagit from Source to Sea

A large drop of rain fell on my leg. Then another. A deep boom of thunder reverberated through the mountain peaks. It began to pour. The rain dripped from the trees and shrubs, cascading onto the ground in rivulets and feeding, right there at our feet, the tiny creek that was the source of the Skagit River. These particular drops ... Read More »

Moments Beside a Summer Pond

Chloe and I were getting closer, and I wanted to take her and her sons fishing. I drove to a little known pond out in the country.  The boys had no experience fishing and I rigged up spinning rods with bobbers and small hooks, showing them how to bait with a worm and make a cast.  The lesson proved challenging, ... Read More »

Paddling in Paradise: Protected Places on the Salish Sea

When I slip my kayak into Bellingham Bay, I sometimes choose a direction without a destination. Paddling is an end in itself and destinations require decisions. It’s like choosing between a slice of Oreo cheesecake and chocolate mousse. Can I have some of each? Not if they’re in two different directions. If I do select a destination, my tastes lean ... Read More »

A Passion for Paddling: Making Waves on Lake Padden

The peaceful, glass-like waters of Lake Padden attract plenty of recreational paddlers of all kinds, but one man sees the lake destined for greater things. Dan Baharav, 75, came to Bellingham in 2004 and discovered a Mecca for paddlers here with the open waters off the coast and sizeable lakes inland. Baharav raced surf-ski kayaks, the long, lightweight, narrow-bottomed style ... Read More »

Autumn in the San Juans

  “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away”.                                                                                                                          -Mark Twain We motor out of Bellingham’s Squalicum Marina aboard Shariyat, a 26-foot long sailboat, bathed in rare and succulent late autumn sunshine. We’re off for a ... Read More »