Commencement Bay solo

Posted by Ken Campbell January 30, 2012 0 Comment 782 views

Mary and Micah dropped me off right at 1pm. I was a bit surprised that I didn’t see any of the other paddlers at the park, but maybe they were running a little late. I packed my gear and got the kayak down to the beach, waited around for the group to show. The sky was gray but the air was dry, not much rain in the forecast. The water was a sheet of steel, calm and unbroken all the way over to Vashon Island in the distance.
When nobody else had arrived by 1:30, I decided to start without them. I had planned to tag along with a group from Rogue Wave Adventures for the afternoon, stop in at Katie Down’s for a brew to celebrate Bob’s 29th birthday… but they must have changed their plans without letting me know. A bit rude, I must say, but it was still a nice day and I had a boat I needed to bring around anyway.
I paddled past the liberty ships berthed along the waterfront, the huge ready reserve vessels that seem permanently moored to the shore near Old Town. Past the park, where groups of people walked and skated, enjoying the break in the weather. (There are some places, far from here, where people go out to enjoy the sun on a Saturday afternoon. Here, we’ll settle for it just not being too rainy.)
I beached at Katie Down’s and went in to see if the group was there. Nope. I had a beer anyway – Happy Birthday, Bob – and left soon after. Back on the water again. I continued down the shoreline and past the ongoing restoration work at Ruston, past the yacht club. A bald eagle lit on the top of the flagpole out in front of the club as I paddled by.
I hadn’t been to Anthony’s for a while so I stopped in there as well, my wet footprints leaving a trail to the bar where I had a cup of chowder and a pint of Odin’s Gift. (Good beer, that one.) Still no sign of the group. I didn’t stay long there either and got back on the water to complete the trip.
Past Owen Beach where people skipped stones and dogs barked at me here and there, trying to figure out just what it was they were seeing. The tide had turned and the current began to carry me to the point, then around and into the Narrows. The wind had picked up, out of the southwest, but nothing to be concerned about. I stayed near the shore, watching as several more eagles swooped above me, then landed on branches far overhead. I pulled into Salmon Beach just as the gray sky began to fade to black, just as the rain began to fall.
It was strange, I thought, that I didn’t at least see my group on the water somewhere. I went inside, checked the email that I’d gotten from Christine, about when and where to meet. Turns out I was a day early; their paddle wasn’t happening until the next afternoon. I guess it really is important to check those pesky details.
No harm done. It was a good afternoon anyway.

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