Whales, Whales and More Whales!

The Strait of Juan de Fuca has had extraordinary numbers of humpback whales and sightings of a rare-to-these-waters fin whale. Orcas are active and part of the viewing spectacular! Definitely, local attention has been focused on the waters and the whales.

On a recent whale-watching tour out of Port Angeles, we saw the trifecta! All three species – humpbacks, fin and Orcas. It was an astounding feeling to have possibly two dozen humpbacks surrounding the boat, breaching, and spouting. With the engines off we could hear them nearby when they were spouting.

The fin whale looked rather like a very large brown log floating in the water, until it moved! It was a huge animal. The fin is the second largest whale after the blue whale. The Orcas were feeding, so we missed their usual playful behavior. But, again with the engines off, the Captain lowered a microphone into the water. We heard them talking to one another. Phenomenal!

Here’s what the naturalist aboard the ship the day we went had to say about our viewings:

Humpbacks and Orcas and a Fin, Oh My!

Port Angeles

Dozens of Humpbacks
L-Pod Resident Orcas
“The” Fin Whale
Mt. Baker

What happens when you mix sunny skies, flat seas, snow-capped peaks, and three species of whale?  Just another great day at the office with Port Angeles Whale Watch!

The visibility today was phenomenal providing views of both the Olympic mountain range and Mt. Baker of the North Cascades. The humpbacks were up first, with many of the dozens of whales we spotted yesterday still feeding in the area.  Notable individuals that could be identified included BCX0298 “Split Fin”, BCX1068 “Split Fluke”, BCX1193 “Zig Zag”, and CS631, but there were many, many more whales spouting and fluking in the distance.

We next got a call of possible killer whales to the northeast so decided to investigate.  Sure enough, we arrived to see several members of the Southern Resident L-Pod spread out foraging for salmon.  While many of the whales were quite scattered, mom L77 “Matia” and her 4-year old calf, L119 “Joy” stayed nearby for a while.  Because it was so calm today, we were able to turn off the engines and drop in the hydrophone to eavesdrop on an orca conversation of whistles and squeals!

It was time to return home, but luckily the route took us right back through humpback territory for an encore presentation.  Much to our delight, however, we were treated to our third whale species of the day – the rare fin whale that’s been in the area for the last week or two!  It doesn’t get much better than that!  Check out some of the gorgeous photos from today:


Port Angeles: PA Whale Watching, 360.293.4215, whales@islandadventurecruises.com

Port Angeles Whale Watch Company is owned and operated by Island Adventures based out of Anacortes, WA. Island Adventures Whale Watching has been in business since 1992 and has carried hundreds of thousands of satisfied passengers.

Port Townsend:  Puget Sound Express,  360-385-5288. https://www.pugetsoundexpress.com/

Three generations of our family have helped visitors have life-changing experiences with some of the most majestic creatures on the planet. Puget Sound Express has been a family business for 31 years!





Whales in Strait of Juan de Fuca

Whales in Strait of Juan de Fuca

Hwy 112 Scenic Byway, Festivals and a Great Sale

Highway 112 Scenic Byway along the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca is a must drive for visitors to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Recently a blog post by Road Trippers’Roads and Rides – Your guide to the best drives, coolest cars, and all things motoring”, covered a trip along this Scenic Byway to the special places of Neah Bay and Cape Flattery, the most NW point in the contiguous USA – and stops

Hwy 112 map

Hwy 112 map

along the way.  The blog has 14 gorgeous photos, a map and generally great descriptions and ideas for following HWY 112.

Check out this cool video before heading out. It highlights some of the best of the best along Hwy 112.

Two exciting activities coming up on the highway are: Joyce Blackberry Daze, Saturday, August 6 and the Great Strait Sale on Saturday, September 10.

Joyce Blackberry Daze

Joyce Blackberry Daze

Olympic National Park Entrances

Hwy 101 Scenic Byway map

Olympic Peninsula Hwy 101 Scenic Byway

From Hood Canal to Lake Quinault, follow the Highway 101 Scenic Byway to find several possibilities for entering the Olympic National Park. Each place offers different terrain, experiences, and chances to learn more about the park.

PORT ANGELES – The primary Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open daily 8:30am – 5:00pm. General information, a children’s Discovery Room, bookshop, maps, exhibits and a near-by nature trail makes this a must stop while in Port Angeles. Be sure to take time to watch the movie. If it isn’t running, just ask one of the rangers to start it. For park information call 360-565-3130. If all you want to check is the 24- hour recorded road and weather update, call 360-565-3131. If you need backpacking information or permits, or to acquire required bear cans for backcountry camping, check with the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) May 1 – June 11,  8am – 4:30pm daily June 12 – September 10, 8am – 5pm daily (until 6pm Friday, Saturday) September 11 – 30, 8am- 5pm daily.

Hurricane Hill walk from Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Hill walk from Hurricane Ridge

HURRICANE RIDGE – The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is open daily 9:00am – 5:30pm with information, maps, exhibits, an orientation film, and nearby trails. The snack bar and gift shop are open daily 10:00am – 6:00pm. The information desk is staffed daily 10:00am – 5:30pm. Enjoy the Terrace Talk, daily 10:30am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm. Learn about this amazing wilderness park at a 20-minute talk. Topics vary. Join the easy one-hour guided walk to explore life in the mountains for a Meadow Walk, daily at 11:30am. and 2:00pm. Discover wildlife, wildflowers and other features of the Olympic landscape.

HEART O’ THE HILLS – At Heart O’ the Hills Campground amphitheater, join others to enjoy the Evening Program,on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00pm. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards. Junior Ranger Forest Activities are on Saturday at 10:00am for one hour of forest activities. Meet at the campground amphitheater.

Fall at Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent

LAKE CRESCENT – Storm King Ranger Station is open Wednesday – Saturday 11:00am – 4pm with information, activities for kids, and access to trails. Join the Marymere Falls Forest Walk on Fridays at 10:00am. Meet on the Lake Crescent Lodge porch for this easy, 1-1/2-hour guided hike. Got a younger one with you? How about them becoming an Olympic Junior Ranger? This program starts Saturdays 10:30am at Storm King Ranger Station. Join a ranger for an hour of hands-on activities. One of the highlights of summer in the park are the evening programs. Lake Crescent evening gatherings are on Tuesdays and Saturdays 7:30pm at Storm King. Learn more about the park after dark. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards at the Ranger Station.

MORA – Beginning June 25, the Mora Ranger Station is open Friday – Monday 1:00 – 5:00pm for   information and maps. Bark Rangers – If you have a dog with you, you might want to show up on Saturdays, Sundays at 10am at the Rialto Beach Trailhead. Learn how to visit the park safely with your pet and earn a Bark Ranger Badge for your pup. There is also an Evening Program – Monday, Friday 8:00pm at the Mora Campground amphitheater. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards at the Ranger Station.


Kalaloch Beach

KALALOCH – Kalaloch Ranger Station is open daily with information, exhibits, bookshop, and maps. Science on the Shore is held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday Times and topics vary with changing tides. Explore the shore with a ranger in this hands-on program. Schedule and location information will be listed on bulletin boards. Vacation Volunteers can take a walk on the coast with a ranger and help leave this park better than you found it –  Saturdays 10:00am – noon.  Bark Rangers – Daily, 1:00 p.m. at  at Learn how to visit the park safely with your pet and earn a Bark Ranger Badge for your pup. Meet at the Kalaloch Lodge Gazebo, daily at 1:00pm.  The Evening Program is held on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 8:00pm at the Kalaloch Campground amphitheater. Topics on bulletin boards.

QUINAULT RAIN FOREST – Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station on North Shore Road is open Thursday – Monday 9:00am – 5:00pm. It is closed for guided walks and lunch. You find information, exhibits, a bookshop, maps, and nearby trails. Life in the Rain Forest Walk is scheduled Thursday – Monday at 1:00pm. Learn about rain forest plants, animals and homesteader lore. Meet at Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station for this easy 1-1/2-hour, 3/4-mile walk.

Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest

HOH RAIN FOREST – The remodeled Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is open daily 9:00am – 5:00pm. At this visitor center you’ll find general park information, a bookshop, maps, and nearby trails. You can get backcountry wilderness permits and bear cans here. There is the Rain Forest Walk at 2pm daily. Learn about giant trees, wildlife and more on this 1-1/2-hour easy walk on the Hall of Mosses or Spruce Nature Trail. Meet at the Hoh Visitor Center. The popular Evening Program begins at 8:00pm at the Hoh Campground amphitheater. Dates and topics on local bulletin boards.

Staircase trailhead sign

Staircase Trailhead Sign

STAIRCASE –  At the south end of Hood Canal you’ll find the Staircase entrance to Olympic National Park. The Ranger Station hours vary. They do have information, exhibits, maps, trails nearby. If you are headed into the North Fork of the Skokomish River you will need backcountry wilderness permits and bear cans that are available. Thursday through Sunday at 2:00pm there is a Forest Walk.  Meet at bridge for 1-1/2 -hour walk by the Skokomish River. Discover Staircase!  on Sundays at 10:00am. Meet at the ranger station for this 1/2 -hour talk about the plants, animals or history of Staircase area. Fun for all ages! Evening Program is held Thursday through Saturday 7:30pm. Meet at the Staircase amphitheater.

Thirteen Special Places

Get ready to overload your schedule with 10 + 3 special places on the Olympic Peninsula. There have been several lists compiled over the last few weeks, all with gorgeous photos and travel hints for the peninsula. Let’s start with ExOfficio’s  10 Totally Amazing Places to See on the Northern Olympic Peninsula. This list has amazing photos, as well as short descriptions of some of our favorite places.

Dungeness Lighthouse

Dungeness Lighthouse

We totally agree that the places on ExOfficio’s list shouldn’t be missed, but we think there are a couple missed opportunities to get into the flavor, history and fun.

Dungeness Spit is mentioned #1 in ExOfficio’s list and we are glad it made the list.  Dungeness Spit is especially precious. It’s the longest natural sand spit in the USA. The 5.5-mile walk out to the New Dungeness Lighthouse is a test of endurance, since the walk is totally on sand.  You can sign up to be a lighthouse keeper for a week. Lots of responsibility, but a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or as the lighthouse keepers website says, Stay a Week…Memories for a Lifetime!

SR112 Joyce Museum

Joyce Museum

Joyce Museum and Joyce General Store count as one stop.  Summer hours for the museum are Thursday – Monday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Try to go when Margaret is there. She is the all-knowing docent of wisdom when it comes to the area. The log building, built in 1914, was once the train depot. Now it houses historic photographs, newspapers and examples of the days gone by.  Lots of artifacts and info about the recent Elwha River dam removal project is housed here. Take a reality step back in time when you enter the General Store. It’s still got its brass mail boxes and absolutely everything you could possibly need – from motor oil to Wesson oil, from brushes to clean mushrooms to brushes to paint the house. Plus they have bumper stickers that say, “I ♥ Joyce”, a definite memento for anyone you know named “Joyce”.

John's Beachcombing Museum

John’s Beachcombing Museum

John’s Beachcombing Museum. A new must-do on the peninsula – near Forks. Here are some comments from visitors to this unique collection:

  • “Some very cool and very unusual stuff in there!”
  • “This place is amazing!!! I am an environmental science teacher and I learned an amazing amount of information about what washes up on our shores. Thanks John for a great and informational time.”
  • “Absolutely loved our trip through John’s museum. It was great listening to John’s stories and the kids were totally engaged from the drive in until we drove away… Thanks John, this is a must see and we will be back.”

    Admission to tour the museum is $5. Prepare to spend some time there! It’s open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., or for group tours by appointment, for more information or questions call 360-640-0320.



Dungeness Schoolhouse

If you are in the area during Lavender Weekend, you might want to check the Dungeness Schoolhouse. It’s nearby to the farms and festivities in the Sequim-Dungeness area. The schoolhouse is part of the local history. In the early days, the Dungeness area was a thriving community and early settlers saw the need for a school. At a meeting on May 10, 1892, votes were cast in favor of bonding the Dungeness District for $3,000 to buy land which was then cleared and fenced; a two-story schoolhouse was built and furnished on the property. You’ll find the schoolhouse off East Anderson Road near the Dungeness River.

On February 27, 1893, the Dungeness School opened with 73 pupils ranging in age from 5 to 20 years. The teacher received $75 a month for a four-month term, ending June 30; living quarters were provided on the second floor. Classes were large and books and supplies were not easy to acquire. School Board minutes from April 8, 1895, show a motion was passed to buy the school a bottle of ink. The photo on the left is from 1893. One can only imagine what it was like to hear the bell ring to call students from throughout the area.

And, to know that there were no cell phones or tablets or computers or video games to distract learning.


Today the schoolhouse is still used for classes and programs and can be rented for special events.  The  main classroom area will hold about 30 people. Upstairs is the auditorium with a stage and room for about 90. One modern addition, besides the indoor plumbing and new electrical is the addition of an elevator!

Stop by this historic gem and take a step back in time. Hear the bell ring calling you to class?

Travel the Olympic Peninsula w/o a Car

Yes, travel to the Olympic Peninsula without a car can be done

Travel to the Olympic Peninsula without a car can be a challenge, but it can be done. There are many resources to help you plan your visit sans automobile. We hope this blog post will inspire you plan and navigate your way around with a bicycle or on foot. If you are bicycling, check out the Olympic Discovery Trail for transportation corridors across the peninsula.

If you are arriving at SEATAC Airport, Seattle, The Dungeness Line or Rocket Transportation shuttles are easy to find at the south end of the airport. The Dungeness Line has a scheduled route, while Rocket Transportation will deliver you to your specified destination.

Links to local websitesto connect around the Olympic Peninsula:

  • Clallam Transit Bus. Contact the Clallam Transit center directly for questions about their routes and prices 800-858-3747.  Keep in mind, also, that you can rack a bicycle on the Clallam Transit buses for free on a  first-come first-served space.
  • Mason County Transit Authority. All MTA buses are equipped with bike racks to carry two or three conventional single seat, two-wheeled bicycles.
  • Jefferson TransitThis website has a page with a listing of other auto-less transportation options for the entire area – Seattle, Victoria, Kitsap, Whidbey Island. A useful resource!
  • Grays Harbor Transit
  • Another option is hiring a private tour guide to take you anywhere you want to go.  Here is a link with a list of them.

If you are based in Port Angeles, you’ll find these bus lines with some suggestions of things to see and how to get there.

pt erider a new way to travel in Port Townsend

PTe-rider – a new way to travel in Port Townsend

#30 Port Angeles to Sequim. Once you’re in Sequim you can schedule a Dial-a-Ride to take you out to the Dungeness Rec Area where there is camping and hiking.  This needs to be scheduled 24 hours in advance.
From Sequim to Port Townsend
take the Jefferson Transit #8 bus.  There is a cool new way to explore this charming, Victorian seaport. It’s the PTe-rider. Hop aboard the first electric shuttle service in Washington State. Open April through October, they offer taxi service tours of Port Townsend’s historic districts.

#10 Port Angeles to Joyce on Hwy 112 will drop you off at Camp Hayden Rd. which is about 4 miles south of Salt Creek Recreation Area. It would be a hike to get to Salt Creek, but if it’s low tide and you are a tidepooler, it might be worth it. Even if you don’t want to go as far as Salt Creek, I’d recommend the blackberry pie at the Blackberry Cafe – also the jalapeno burger if it’s still on the menu. Two must dos are the Joyce General Store and the Joyce Museum. Words can’t adequately explain – it’s part history, part now. Start by talking to Margaret at the museum. She can tell you the historical details, local lore and guide you through the museum that used to be the old railroad station.

#20 Port Angeles to the Olympic National Park Visitor Information Center where passes and permits can be bought.  This route will drop you off a couple blocks down the hill from the Visitor Information Center. You would need to hire a vehicle to take you up the mountain, either taxi or guide. Here’s a link to guide services.  Green 8 Taxi Service.  Black Tie Taxi Service.

Travel Lake-C-fall-pano-lo.jpg

Lake Crescent

#14 Port Angeles along Hwy 101 around Lake Crescent.  Stopping here at Lake Crescent you can hike to Marymere Falls and into the backcountry. A visit to Lake Crescent Lodge is an historical treat. Sit on the sun porch with cool drink in hand, relaxing in wicker chairs and watching the kayakers and swimmers. This route will also take you to Forks, if you ever want to travel from its serene shores.

Travel Camping on Second Beach

Second Beach

#15 Forks to La Push.  At La Push are the hikes to Second Beach and Third Beach, both great for setting up a tent and falling asleep to the sound of the waves. These beaches are located in the National Park and so camping permits to stay overnight need to be obtained from the Visitor Center in Port Angeles.  There are no amenities or camping sites on these beaches and everything must be packed in and packed back out.

Forks south to Lake Quinault. Jefferson Travel from Forks (Forks Transfer Center is located at 552 S Forks Ave & E Street) can take you south to Lake Quinault area, stopping at Lower Hoh, Kalaloch, Queets and then to Amanda Park Mercantile at the lake. From Amanda Park you can transfer to Grays Harbor Transit, which will require a separate fare and exact change.

#16 Port Angeles to Neah Bay.  The Makah Reservation has its own bus system once the Clallam County system drops you off.  There is a bus that will take you to the Cape Flattery Trail but contact this bus system directly to make sure.  Cape Flattery is the most NW point of the contiguous United States. There are views of Tattoosh Island and lighthouse along with excellent wildlife viewing. If the whales aren’t around, the birds will be. There is no service of this bus system on Saturdays, Sundays, or Holidays. Be sure to visit the Makah Cultural and Resource Center. It’s a world-class museum with artifacts and displays highlighting the history and culture of this part of the world.

Travel to Victoria, Canada – Bring your passport!

The side trip popular with many visitors is to travel to Victoria, BC, Canada, is a simple, 90-minutes, walk-on ride on the Coho Ferry. The ferry docks in the beautiful inner harbor across the street from the Parliament Building. Make your visit a “two-nation vacation”! If you are bringing your bike or would just like to have a lovely walk, put the Galloping Goose Trail from Victoria to Sooke on your itinerary. Here are some photos from their website.

Have fun and travel safely!

Olympic Peninsula Park Passes Made Simple

Some parks and trailheads around the peninsula require a pass. Generally, you can purchase passes at each entrance to each kind of park.

ONP annual passEach national park has its own pass. For example, you could buy an annual pass to Mt. Rainer OR Olympic National Park. This year these cost $50 each. Weekly admissions to the parks are sold at the entrances or Visitor Centers for $20 (going up to $25 on June 1, 2016). Only four entrances require a pass: Hurricane Ridge, Sol Duc, Staircase and Hoh Rain Forest. You can either pay as you enter these entrances or stop at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles to purchase the pass.
America the Beautiful Pass is an interagency pass good for all Federal lands – National Parks, National Forest, monuments, etc. This costs $80 for an annual pass.

If you plan on bicycling or walking in, it’s only $7/person. Learn more here, or check with the park 360-565-3130. Some of the info on their site is outdated. But you will be able to see the different types of passes:

  • Private vehicle
  • Motorcycle
  • Per person
  • Wilderness camping fees
  • Campground fees
  • Commercial tours
  • Non-commercial groups
  • Dump station fees

There is the equivalent to the interagency pass for active military – one year is free with documentation. These are only dispensed by rangers.
There is the equivalent of the interagency pass for seniors (62+) or disabled people. This is a lifetime pass that costs $10 and is sold only by rangers to people with proof of eligibility.

discover pass logoWashington State Parks, like Fort Worden require a Discover Pass which you can learn about here. If you click here you can see the State Parks By Region which will tell you which parks require which pass. Last time I went to Fort Worden, I just paid at the entrance kiosk by the parking lot. But if you wish to purchase the Discover pass ahead of time you can do there online hereDiscover annual passes ($35 from vendors/$30 if you purchase them at the same time you pay your car license renewals or from a ranger at the park) are for the Washington State parks.  Discover day passes cost $10 ($12 from vendors) and are good for State parks for one day only.  These can be purchased in advance or at the park.

Similarly, there is Olympic National Forest (ONF) that offers miles of hiking trails in the woods has a different set of passesForest Service pass. Here is a list of trails that are on ONF land that require an Olympic National Forest pass (different from an Olympic National Park pass). A lot of these spectacular trails are on the east side of the peninsula with access from Hwy 101 along Hood Canal, except for the  Quinault Rain Forest trails, which are in the southwest area of the peninsula. Some, by by no means all of the National Forest trails, require either an annual pass or a day pass for parking. Day passes cost $5. Passes are not sold a the trail heads, so they must be purchased in advance. An annual pass for the National Forests in Washington and Oregon only (no parks and no other state’s national forests) costs $30. Print a pass for the ONF on your computer before you come! $5.00

horizontal Hobuck Beach

Hobuck Beach, Neah Bay

If you are headed to Shi Shi Beach, Cape Flattery or other spots in Neah Bay on the Makah Reservation, the Makah Tribe requires visitors to have a $10 Recreation Pass. The Recreational Use Permit (RUP) is available for sale at the Makah Museum, Washburn’s Store and at the Makah Tribal Center at a cost of $10.00 per car and is good for the calendar year in which it is purchased. The permit is required if you are going to engage in recreational activities on the Reservation – hiking, camping, kayaking, sports-fishing, etc.

Dungeness Lighthouse

Dungeness Lighthouse

Also, there is a small fee at the trailhead of $3 per family or per group (up to four adults) at the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge. Children under 16 enter free. Refuge Annual Pass, Federal Recreational Lands Pass, Senior or Golden Age Pass, Access or Golden Access Pass, Military Pass, Volunteer Pass, and a Federal Duck Stamp also admit family or group (up to 4 adults). One of the special things to do in this area is hiking on the Dungeness Spit to the lighthouse at the end of the sandy spit.

Port Angeles Kayak & Film Festival – April 22 – 24

PA Kayak & Film Festival If you are not in the market to purchase a kayak, but are in the market for a great weekend, try the Port Angeles Kayak and Film Festival this weekend. What’s better than spending a couple days trying out some different kayaks, learning something new at one of the seminars, or trying out boats on the water? Maybe watching amazing kayak films or joining the new kayak yoga group by the water or maybe just hanging out by the water?  In the past it’s been a blast regardless of the weather and this year, 2016, looks like it should be good again. Maybe a few light sprinkles, but that never lays a wet blanket on us at this event. We’re probably already wet from playing in the water!

There is still time to sign up for a New Course- Yoga for Paddlers. Kathleen Grimblyyoga on the beach will focus on stretches specifically for range of motion for forward, reverse and sweep strokes. Course will start on the beach, then move into the boats on beach, then progress to boats in the water.
Yoga is on Saturday April 23rd, 11:00- Noon, at Hollywood Beach downtown Port Angeles.
Sign Up: www.portangeleskayakandfilm.com or call (360) 417-3015.

Friday night at Barhop Brewery, 5 – 7 pm – preregistration. We highly recommend taking advantage of pre-registration so you are not rushed for your classes on Saturday.  Please note, because a release form is required you must register in person. Besides, there will be some good brew and pizza and three videos to watch with all the other paddlers. Of course during the day Saturday, you’ll want to be with us in the boats at Hollywood Beach in front of the Red Lion Hotel. Do you prefer a sit-on-top, fishing, inflatable or recreational style best?

kayak festivalSaturday Evening Main Event is a presentation at Peninsula College Maier Performance Hall at 7pm by award-winning filmmaker and adventurer, Justine Curgenven of Cackle TV Productions.

Here’s a list of some of her adventures:

  • The first all-female circumnavigation of Tasmania –  900-miles in 42 days.
  • A solo trip around Iceland’s West Fjords
  • A 400mile journey up the Pacific coast of Kamchatka with Hadas Feldman and a novice Russian sea kayaker.
  • A 500mile circumnavigation of the Queen Charlotte Islands with Shawna Franklin & Leon Somme
  • A kayak crossing of the treacherous Bass Strait, between mainland Australia and Tasmania
  • The first kayak circumnavigation of wales ( by sea, river and canal) with Fiona Whitehead
  • A 2400km circumnavigation of the South island of New Zealand taking 67 days, with Barry Shaw
  • A 500 mile circumnavigation of Sardinia with Barry Shaw
  • 3 crossings of the Irish Sea of between 45-57 nautical miles – from Anglesey to the Isle of Man, from the Llyn Peninsula to Wicklow in Ireland and from Holyhead to Dublin. All the crossings were done in strong following ( or side) winds. The Llyn- Wicklow Crossing was on New Years Day, one of the shortest ( and coldest) days of the year.
  • A crossing from mainland Scotland to Shetland, via the Orkney islands and Fair Isle
  • Kayaking 120 miles from London to France in 50 hours & kayaking from Russia to Japan in a series of open water crossings – both with Sarah Outen.
  • With Barry Shaw, becoming the first people to kayak 1000 miles around ‘Isla Grande’, Tierra Del Fuego – a remote windswept Patagonian island.
  • Kayaking from England to France, & from Russia to Japan with Sarah Outen. See the film on ‘This is the Sea 5′
  • Circumnavigation of Ireland in 2013 with Barry Shaw & Roger Chandler
  • Kayaking 2500 km along the Aleutian island chain and Alaskan peninsula with Sarah Outen in 2014

Here’s the link to all the other stuff going on over the weekend. Even if you don’t kayak, the speakers and films should be outstanding , and the beer cold. See you around the boats this weekend.

Washington Coast Cleanup

clean up crew

Thank You Coast Savers Crew

Washington Coast Cleanup: Registration Now Open!  The Washington Coast Cleanup will be on Saturday, April 23rd. Online registration is now open at www.coastsavers.org. Join us for the largest beach cleanup effort in the state! Invite your friends and family and make a weekend out of it among old friends or new. There are some awesome BBQs and special events being provided by our partners that weekend. Check out the list below. Last year, over 1,500 volunteers removed at least 19 tons of debris from almost 50 beaches. This year could be even bigger with all the debris that’s washed in with the winter storms.


Friday, April 22

Saturday, April 23

  • Soup Feed at Moose Lodge in Ocean Park, noon – 1:30 p.m.
  • Surfrider BBQ at Twin Harbors State Park, noon – 1 p.m.
  • Washington State Parks Ranger Association BBQ at Griffiths-Priday State Park, noon – 1:30 p.m.
  • (CoastSavers Fundraiser) Seafood Boil, Mill 109 Restaurant, Seabrook, noon – 2 p.m.
  • Kalaloch Lodge BBQ, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Surfrider BBQ at Three Rivers Fire Station, 11:30 a.m. – 3
  • Friends of Olympic National Park, Refreshments at Lake Ozette Registration Station
  • The Lost Resort at Ozette serves up Rob’s famous 15-bean soup, noon – 2 p.m.
  • Surfrider BBQ at Hobuck Beach Campground, noon – 2 p.m.
  • Chito Beach Resort, 1 – 4 p.m.
  • Port Townsend Coop, $5 in store credit for volunteers
  • River and Ocean Film Festival, Rainforest Arts Center in Forks, 7 p.m.

If you haven’t participated in a cleanup in a while, now is the time. We need your help and the beach needs your help. And, if you have never participated, DO IT! It’s a blast and a great thing for our beaches. Be among your peeps! You’ll feel good getting the beaches ready for the season of camping, tidepooling and strolling the clean beach!

To the beach, for the beach!

6 Travel Tips for this Spring

Here are six travel tips from a native Olympic Peninsula-ite, who thinks that winter and spring are special times to enjoy the outdoors here. Yes, of course, it can rain, but good gear will negate any reasons to not get out there to enjoy the lush greens and fresh air. You can find exquisite glimpses of nature that only happen at this time of year. There is a quiet solitude on most trails and the beaches entertain the changing weather. Late winter, early spring are good times to come visit. Whether you storm watch or shred the ski slopes, you’ll find yourself renewed.

Marymere Falls near Lake Crescent in Winter

Marymere Falls near Lake Crescent in Winter

  1. TRAVEL TIP #1.  Do some research before you come. If you aren’t one to make reservations ahead, at least check to see if there are activities that may limit hotel availability so you will be prepared. Be sure places you want to go are open and accessible on the days you plan to come. For example, at this time, the Hurricane Ridge Road is open Friday – Sunday. And it depends on the weather. Have a back up plan to find snow if the ‘Ridge road is closed and that’s your destination. Don’t over plan. Give yourself time to enjoy being here. The Olympic Peninsula Travel Planner can help with ideas. OlympicPeninsula.org. PS. If you are bringing your dog, be sure check out the Dog-Friendly Map info from another blog.
  2. TRAVEL TIP #2. Plan your visit by drive times, not by miles. Drive times and distance don’t always make sense. For example, if you are planning to drive directly to Neah Bay from Seattle it is only 154 miles, but it takes about 4-1/4 hours to get there. Magnificent scenery along the way, but no freeways. From Port Angeles to Forks, it is 56 miles and takes about 1-1/4 hours. These times are dependent on traffic and weather conditions. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the journey. Please obey the speed limit. There are multiple law enforcement agencies that will be watching!
  3. TRAVEL TIP #3. Pack for wearing layers and bring some rain gear. That’s an all-season recommendation for the Olympic Peninsula. You can drive from a sunny Blue Hole in Sequim to the damp, wet rain forest. Some tennis shoes are good for hiking on slick boardwalks and sturdy hiking boots are good for trails if they are muddy. I’ve seen flip-flops on the beach in the winter and wondered if the people hadn’t packed correctly, if they were trying to be one with the Pacific Ocean, or if they were just teenagers. I’m pretty sure their feet were cold no matter their reasons!
  4. TRAVEL TIP #4. Budget accordingly. Ferry (if you take one), gas, food, lodging, park permits, attraction fees and souvenirs. The Olympic Peninsula is abundant with things to do for free and low cost. Check out a previous blog for some free suggestions.
  5. TRAVEL TIP #5. Check out what the locals are doing. The communities around the peninsula are little jewels to explore. Take a look at the local papers, or bulletin boards at grocery stores or shop windows. Join the people who live here to see what they support in their communities. You can find everything from gem shows, to yoga retreats, to baking classes, to fly tying workshops, to “you-name-it” gatherings, to great local theater.
  6. TRAVEL TIP #6. Be realistic. I guess this is the biggest tip – to be realistic. Have an idea what you’d like to do, but remember all the variables. Weather, distance being the two main ones. Don’t try to do too much. Come and visit multiple times. Enjoy what you can do while you are here. Maybe one trip is only to go to Sol Duc Hot Springs and see one waterfall there. Maybe the next time you’ll go to the beach and stay, checking out a couple nearby beaches. The next time, maybe you will only camp at the Hoh Rainforest and do the hikes from the campground and take a raft trip down the river. You couldn’t do all of those itineraries in one weekend. Well, I guess you could, but you’d need some R&R when you got home!

Enjoy your visit. Relax, play, and let the nature of the Olympic Peninsula soak into you.