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Paddling in Paradise: Protected Places on the Salish Sea

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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

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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

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  “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 »

Arc and Pulse

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Fishing an Oregon river with my wife, Chloe, turns to dancing. I touch her back and shoulders, leading her gently. She smiles, then follows my gesture, swings back and sees in the bubbly kiss of this emerald tail-out a big slivery flash. A fish that’s come from the ocean. Chloe has taught me a lot, but today I’m teaching her ... Read More »

Paddling the Inside Passage: A Journey of the Sea and Soul

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The ocean -the open stuff -is alive, bounding, rebounding, crashing, rolling, breaking, sucking back, roaring, hissing, thundering, and ominously quiet.                                      ~ Sea diary, June 2010, Dixon Entrance, Alaska   It’s been said that a person doesn’t take a trip, but rather a trip takes a person. The Inside Passage took me – in a kayak – from Anacortes, Washington, ... Read More »

Kayaking the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

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One good tern deserves another. To everything tern, tern, tern. Tern left, tern right. I wasn’t quite sure how many more horrible puns and plays on words my poor wife, Heather could take. We were paddling in the middle of Dungeness Harbor surrounded by Caspian terns. The shallow sandy islands in the harbor are excellent breeding grounds for these sea ... Read More »

Salmon Encounters on Indian Creek

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When I plan a backpacking trip and am working out where to camp each night my main consideration is “Where can I take the best pictures?” I think about the best views and which angle of light I want. And so my camp sites and hiking goals each day are based upon trying to be at the right place at ... Read More »

Beat the Heat and Cannonball into Summer

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Summer is here, bringing with it the promise of long days, endless miles of hiking and…you guessed it: Those hot summer afternoons beneath a northwest sun. So where are you supposed to go to beat the heat? Some of the best swimming holes are surprisingly close at hand to those of us who call Bellingham home. Whether you’re looking to ... Read More »

Standing on the Salish Sea: The Joys of SUP

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When you first see someone Stand Up Paddling (SUP), you may think this person bought a surfboard without the requisite skills to surf the waves, then gave up and just started paddling around on it. Like many first impressions, this would be wrong. Not only is SUP deeply intertwined with big wave surfing, but it was popular long before surfing. ... Read More »

The Road Less Paddled: Seven Special Spots for Local Kayakers

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During my first paddle with WAKE (Whatcom Association of Kayak Enthusiasts),  I learned two important lessons about kayaking in Bellingham: first, that uncrowded lesser-known destinations are immensely gratifying, and second, that there are often good reasons why these spots are uncrowded. The Salish Sea is replete with destination gems enjoyed by paddlers “in-the-know.” These special spots demand advanced skills, rough-weather ... Read More »