Posts Tagged ‘Willapa National Wildlife Refuge’

Monday, 25 April 2016

Allan’s day

Monday was sunny, windy, and had an incoming tide all afternoon. A good sailing day I opined. Skyler didn’t need anything that couldn’t wait, our friends at Sea Star Gardening were working hard pruning a hedge two doors down. I checked and they didn’t need to borrow a ladder or gas or oil, it’s a lazy 1 PM.  Off I went to:


only 15 minutes from Ilwaco


There is a trail and many things to see if you visit their FB page here

Daydreamily I unloaded the boat wrong, breaking off the rudder, but the manufacture anticipated this by including spare break-away pins. All I had to do was look friendly/busy while I repaired it in front of some tourists. We do these things to be the local color sometimes.


I piled everything in


Here is the 25 mph curve. There is one other rig with a boat trailer. It looks to be a quiet day on the bay.


fishermen at work


leaving their wake to splash through

The plan was to see how far I could go around the south end of Long Island, or maybe hug the coast and head south into the wind.

to baby island

The power or paddle boat route to Baby Island is about two miles.


The crooked sailboat route adds about a mile.


The wind was brisk so I stayed along the coast highway. Baby Island kept getting closer so I went for it.


The water is more calm around the spit on the left.

Here is an 8 second  YouTube video of the sound of the beach


landing on a deserted island



On the beach were plenty of  little sea beans. We’ve had them sometimes at the Cove and the Depot. They’re salty and lightly crunchy.


calm water and a rope, just to be sure. It’s only 4:20 and there is time to hike the whole  island.


a little bit of beach clean up


I think that is an old bird nest


silverleaf growing on the beach


a fungi about a foot across


the island’s interior is steep and heavily grown over

According to the book: ‘Coast Country: A History of Southwest Washington’, “…Baby Island is formerly the scene of Indian canoe burials…”



a trillium


a stormy life has shaped this cedar


After a casual ten minute walkaround, a reassuring sight to see.


Baby Island up close, receding


This trip I noticed an inlet into Long Island. It’s across from the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge,  just north of the concrete ramp on the island.


looking back from the interior of the island


There are still pilings from the days when this island was logged. I didn’t spot the campsite (it’s on another inlet), and I still haven’t landed on Long Island. I did spot an elk after wondering what or who was crashing about in the trees.


Here’s the boat landing. In the words of Chuck Yeager: “If you can walk away from a landing, it’s a good landing. If you can use the airplane the next day, it’s an outstanding landing.”

Nobody let me use their airplane the next day.


That night we had fresh sea beans, Skyler’s favourite vegetable, with dinner


Almost eight miles an hour sometimes…pretty fun!

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Sunday, 2 August 2015

Willapa Bay

The original plan: Travel WITH the incoming tide from Oysterville to partway down the bay.  I was going to paddle someone’s skinny sit inside kayak while she sailed my boat downwind and with the current. Then we would stop at the Port of Nahcotta and later pull out in at her house further down the bay. The Hobie with its ‘training wheels’ doesn’t tip over unless a bunch of stupid is going on so its a good loaner but I have capsized someone else’s sailboat.

What actually happened:  An almost as good day boating as I went upwind and against the tide on the east side of Long Island.

He was going to boat from Oysterville down to mid-Peninsula; instead he went from the Willapa Wildlife Refuge to nearby Long Island.

I launched from Willapa Wildlife Refuge.


mud made it a challenge to launch

a muddy launch site at a +1.1 tide

Mud made it a challenge to launch.  I rolled the boat off to the side of the concrete launch to make room for others but the wheels sank deep in the mud.  A couple of tourists asked me, “Can we swim over to the island?” I showed them the deep boat dolly tracks and my muddy boots to discourage them. They weren’t aware that the tide was coming in nor did they try stepping in the mud. She kept teasing her partner to make the short swim.  Then, I told them about the man who had attempted to walk and or swim to Baby Island just south of here. It happened nine years ago. He was never found. The only clue was his empty car at the side of the road, foot prints in the mud, and Baby Island only a short distance away.

“Thank you, thank you. Have a nice day” and off they went for other adventures.

Todd told us that locals refer to the bay mud as “the mud monster”.  It can be dangerous to sink into it.

Allan's boat

the boat all assembled: Hobie Mirage Adventure Island

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 12.48.51 AM

The oyster beds are sometimes right under the surface even with a plus 7 foot tide. The deep channels are near the shore, so all the fins got pulled in after getting stuck and bent criss-crossing the middle.

oyster bed marker

oyster bed marker showing the incoming current as the tide filled the bay .

There was 18 mph headwind too, all the better to quickly head home later

There was 18 mph headwind too, all the better to quickly head home later

I suppose it would sink the boat to try to bring these for our garden.

I suppose it would sink the boat to try to bring these back for our garden.


assorted wild gardens atop the pilings

assorted wild gardens atop the pilings

entrance to the Naselle River

entrance to the Naselle River

What a day. Last time I was here, I went east up the Naselle River and past the curved 101 bridge. I wasn’t going to get over the top of the island and go down the west side today either as it was getting late. Sawlog campground is on the island nearby but like Captain Vancouver failing to spot the Columbia River (well, a little like it), I sailed past Sawlog and headed into a marsh instead.

Long Island

Long Island marsh

a cute caravan heading to the beach for the weekend

a cute caravan heading to the beach


a couple returning from the south of Long Island. Maybe I’ll head south next time.


‘Walking’ on the water with ‘map my walk’ and the Garmin GPS. Got up to 7.4 mph. 



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