Saturday, 6 August 2016
The Willapa Festival in Raymond has a ‘Paddle for Prizes’ (and ducks) event. Last year I went to Raymond’s ‘Kayak Day’ in May and it was a good time with lots of people to meet and boats to admire, and this event looked to be the same.
The wind and weather were good, not like two weeks ago when the wind became too blustery to get home without begging a ride.
About an hour away
Here is Raymond’s kayak dock with its overhand bar and a small crowd watching.
The duck hunters are already off while I dawdle taking pictures.
I registered and got to unloading.
First duck found was free but additional ones were $5 each. I bought four more to support the event and signed the release.
A slow part in writing up this event this was the temptation of looking up a lot of these boats online. Here’s a quick rundown of the variety I saw.
While driving up, I saw this Sea-Cycle pedaling around the Willapa River outside South Bend. It has a foot powered ‘outboard motor’ that swings down and comfortably powers the light pontoon boat up to around 10 mph according to their site.
Room for a second seat and a dog.
I brought Mary Beth’s little 9.25 foot 39 lb. ‘sit on top’ (SOP) boat that is waiting in the water above. They are sealed ‘balloons’ that are unsinkable (unless it breaks apart like the Titanic)
Admiring their new Pungo 12 footer sit-in as they finished strapping on their cart.
Also in the parking lot was this couple inflating their pair of AirFusion kayaks. Once dry, their 32 lb. 13 foot frameless design folds into a small trunk sized bag.
The staff of Willapa Adventures bringing another rental down to the dock.
Lots of single and tandem boats showed up.
I really needed to get out in the water as these ducks wouldn’t be swimming back on their own.
Here other boaters are showing me how to get to an area nicknamed ‘The Secret Garden.’ It is a beautiful isolated pond entered through a narrow passage. Helpful as they were, I either have to opt for the guided tour or look harder as it all looked like grassy banks from the water.
Willapa Paddling Adventures has water proof maps for their customers.
This narrow channel avoids a trip around the longer side of the nearby island.
First ducks in sight.
This one will ride in front to help spot more.
This suspicious rope at the base of the bridge that held the second bag.
Off to check another yellow rope at the end of the trestle
Oh sad, maybe they were eaten…
Still looking for their first duck along the shore.
Sharing her first catch with her friend at the base of the bridge.
I went off around the long way of the island when I spotted a small yellow loose duck (broken bag survivor?) by the shore.
Just a tree fall from this overhanging apple tree.
Here is one of the inflatable kayaks coming around the far side of the island. We shared boating adventure stories as they too were looking for their first duck.
Since the back of the island was duckless according to those who had just come around it, I went upriver to behind the Barge restaurant where I found a third bag under their deck.
Duck #3 with its buddies under the white car.
There was only 35 minutes to go before I need to be back and everything turned in. I headed out into the grassy channels getting a bit disoriented as I was in a hurry. A line of pilings appeared.
Duck #4 and just 25 minutes to go.
Here is a sunken barge, maybe a duck lair?
Rounding the end of the barge there was a yellow tinge underwater.
Four ducks watching from the bow and a bag of sunken ones off the starboard. The bags were installed in a low tide thus the problem. I freed the bag for the next person .
Six minutes to dock. ‘Soccer ball’ duck was one of the volunteer’s favorite. I first thought it was a Guernsey.
Volunteers helping at the dock. I rolled out more like a sea lion when it was my turn.
Duck numbers were matched to envelopes of treats donated by the local merchants. I ended up with two gift cards from the Elixir Cafe located on the river across from the grocery store in South Bend.
A fine planter outside the Dennis Company
A map to be studied later as I try to figure out where the hey I was in the grasslands on the bottom of the map.
The town was in full festival mode but since I had driven this far, I wanted to check out another launch upriver that the locals use a lot.
As Highway 101 leaves Raymond northward, and after crossing the last bridge, you turn right on Monohon Landing road and head upstream 4.4 miles to a public boat launch that requires a Discovery Pass.
Maybe today I can visit the source of the Willapa somewhere off the map in the lower right corner.
A trailer launch that was quiet today.
This is the entrance to Ward Creek, just upstream.
Maybe I could check-off another local stream totally traveled.
This tree manages to block shore to shore.
The Willapa was quiet up here away from Raymond
It hasn’t always been quiet as can be seen from these damaged docks.
This woman was clearing away a log that had jammed under her dock. She thought I could find the end of the river in another couple of miles.
Here is an evolution of repairs with a twisted steel walkway on the upstream side.
This dock is not for the timid.
This dock on the right had moved downstream. I believe the raised walkway is too heavy to drop on a boat and is just waiting for a sturdy dock to return.
Looks like a side route to adventure under Highway 6
No great discovery here, just a dead end ditch at the other end.
Prettier than the average boat
The end of a little stream through a friendly field.
I was being polite and quiet, maybe being the second most exciting part of that cow’s day.
Away they went.
Here is the river extending upstream from the Highway 6 bridge. It is going to take a longer day to find the source.
Seven and a half miles total on a casual day. The little boat launched and was put away easily. It makes a strong case for simplicity as I noticed in this gathering of small boats in Raymond today.
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