Loc: Crescent Bay
Dist: 43,8 km
Start: 5:35 End: 16:15
This was kind of a foggy/ sunny day which was ok! It started foggy, I railed the cliffy coastline and found a huge cave in the cliffs, which ended in a vertical tunnel. It was on land in the sandy cliffs, and many signs showed warnings and “private”…and actually though I am bold and naughty, this one looked so unstable and scary I didn’t like to go in there. The vertical tunnel must end somewhere just in the middle of the land. I wonder how this hole looks from above…
Four deers picked in the weeds in the early foggy morning, later I saw another three climbing the low end of the cliffs, another two and a solo one. All enjoying their freedom! No bears though…I am so much used so look for them, it feels strange to feel (quite) safe again! There should be still some black ones in the mountains around here and especially later.
I had my concerns to cross Port Angeles in dense fog, and heard the foghorn of the approaching ferry multiple times. Just when I arrived at the narrow point, the fog lifted, the ferry had stopped in the harbor just ten minutes ago, and I took my chance and rushed across with good ebb current and about 8 km/h. Just three smaller motorboats were to watch for. Outside the hook, many small fishing boats tried their luck in the strong current – and I was back in dense fog. I paddled along the ugly outer hook with good speed, until the tide turned and I railed impressive sandy cliffs again, with fog on and off.
The Lower Elwha River after Point Angeles made me paddling a wide berth in fog, but the waves did stop at some point, and it was not too bad going around. I had worse river mouths to cross…I paddled inside the bay inside kelp in calm waters, and the fog lifted again. At the end of Freshwater Bay was a boat launching ramp, this would have been a nice small beach to stay. But I liked to keep on paddling to Crescent Bay. Many small fishing boats hung out between here and Tongue Point.
The cliffs between Freshwater and Crescent Bay were different to the last sections, these ones are rugged and beautiful, with many small coves and tiny beaches to land on. A some sections, the flooding tide and 10-15 kn headwind made me working hard, despite I found eddies inside the kelp. I spotted Tongue Point already from the distance, and had already earlier on my concerns about the shape, and then, when I saw the wave action, and knew it was still one hour to high tide…
I donned my PFD, and gave it a try…Surely I liked to avoid all breaking stuff around the point, as I also spotted surfers. No place for me to be! I gave it a wide berth, and had to work hard to gain distance. I worked even harder once I guessed I might be pressed into the point break…and paddled my ass off to escape the last nasty tide race and quite rough and big water out there! But I could have turned around at any time, and to wait an hour in some safe cove…but my way point on the sheltered side of Crescent Bay came closer. The long wide beach was off limits for me, I spotted even more surfers and could imagine how the big swell on this beach would create a wonderful surf break – not for me.
When I approached the sheltered beach, a sailboat was kind of washed ashore, and obviously had trouble to get off again. Two ladies were waving at me not to land here, as this was private property…ok, but I’m worn out for now, I NEED to land! And I did. One lady, obviously a guard of the property with an important yellow warning west on watched the sailboat which was obviously in trouble, the other greeted me with being as unfriendly as a person ever could be to an exhausted kayaker. I tried to explain my situation, showed my card and was very friendly, but she only called another guard on her radio for help, and even asked me to stay inside my kayak! (Which i did not). The man arriving after a few minutes was not much more friendlier, but explained at least to me that on the other side of the bay, behind a small island, the surf would be low to nothing and I could land and camp there on state park ground.
That was just what I needed now after escaping the nasty tidal race point, to paddle another 1,7 km *backwards* to escape those unfriendly people on some private tree farm property. The lady even suspected the sailboat too close to shore was a drug runner, and it was a strange coincident I was just landing together with them…yeah! I’m a drug runner helper! That ugly guard lady was really sucking…I couldn’t help to tell her on launching that a bit of smiling makes her much more nice looking…!
The place the man told me to go was landable in low surf, and I put up my tent in the last corner of the beach, hoping no one would bother me here. I think I need to get used to US coast habits- so many private land, including beaches…is that really true? In South America, all beaches up to the high tide mark were public, private land could only start behind. Is that really different in the US, that people can own beaches? Sure I’d not land on some houses door step, but that place was a parking lot with a motorhome – the guard’s motorhome, as I learned…I WANT TO BE BACK IN ALASKA!!!
I’ll meet up with my new paddling partner Chris May in Neah Bay on Friday evening – any advise for a car accessible allowed campsite there?