Paddling Whidbey      



This Friday night was a bit more exciting than usual...  Our neighbor Pat and her granddaughter were just getting ready for bed when they heard people in the water yelling for help.  I quickly changed in to long underwear and swim gear grabbed my dry suit & life jacket and headed down the bluff.  My neighbors Joe and Steve had already pulled the kayaks off the bulk head and Mike was already half way out there (in his street clothing).  I put on my dry suit faster than I ever have, jumped in the kayak and paddled out.

It was starting to get pretty dark and there was enough chop to make it even more interesting.   The man had been in the water for about 40 minutes and was hanging on the back of a very small row boat.  He seemed OK and was able to hang on.   We could see the rescue boat coming from Langley so we just made sure everyone was accounted for and kept everyone as calm as possible.  Ellen said from the bluff we were barely visible until I turned on my rescue strobe.  I've carried a strobe light in my life vest for probably 30 years - this is the first time I've ever had to actually use it.  

Despite my best efforts to avoid the local paper they ended up getting in touch with my neighbor in Seattle...    Click Here  for the article in the South Whidbey Record.  

Unfortunately the paper didn't name the people that heard the crys for help and reported it, and also Joe and Steve for launching the boats - which really saved a lot of time.  



Note to self:  Need to purchase a waterproof housing or waterproof camera for kayaking. That's all I'm going to say about that.  



The whales are back... they seem to show up with the Humming birds.  We spotted two Gray's at the high tide this evening feeding in front of Langley.  I need to start living with a camera again.  I'll head out this evening - still working on getting pictures...  



We spent the day helping install a new davit for boat launching on the seawall and since it was July 7th, 2007 (7.7.07) we decided to launch at 7:07 for an evening paddle...  The North wind was building so we just paddled up the passage and practically surfed back.    




I've been out several times since April but never seem to see a whale when I have either a paddle or camera in hand.  I'll try again this fall but in the mean time I have been enjoying some great paddle days anyway. No paddling on the 4th, which was weird, but we did run in to the Whidbey Island Sea Kayak Club (WISK) at the Maxwelton Parade...  



I launched from our beach hoping to spot a Gray or two on the incoming tide.  Paddled down to Langley and Sandy Point, then back tracked up Saratoga Passage just past Bells beach.  Drifted around till 6:30 PM scanning with binoculars and listening to the VHF.... Nothing but an unusually calm day on the water.  
Either way it was a nice afternoon for a paddle.  



April 2007

The Gray Whales are back...  We see them several times every Spring and Fall right in front of the house.  They feed on Ghost Shrimp; at low tide you can see the  pits where they have been feeding.  It looks like someone was digging out on the tide flats with a backhoe.

I've been paddling most of the winter, but will start taking a camera during the whale migration.  Hopefully I'll eventually get lucky.  



Click here for Salish Sea Whale sightings and other info

Click here for local tide predictions

 Click here for my neighbor Bruce's Whale pictures

   Jeffrey K. Wallace
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