Blake Island 13–14 July 2019

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by alexsidles, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. alexsidles

    alexsidles Paddler

    Jan 10, 2009
    Seattle WA
    Starting last year, Rachel and I began taking our daughter, Maya, on short paddles to feed the ducks on Lake Washington, Seattle. Maya is now almost three years old, so we decided it was time to take her on a bigger adventure: her first kayak-camping trip.

    We picked Blake Island, the closest boats-only campsite to Seattle. From Alki Point in West Seattle, Blake Island is about four miles, which is a little far to paddle with a toddler. To shorten the distance, we took the ferry to Southworth and launched from the terminal there, from which Blake Island is only about a mile and half. Southworth also has a large pay-parking lot adjacent to the beach, whereas Alki has only limited street parking, not always near the beach.

    00 Map.jpg
    00 Route map. Taking the ferry divided the trip into short, easy segments—car, then ferry, then car, then kayak—which gave Maya lots of breaks.

    All the kayaker campsites on the northwest point of the island were taken. Folks generously offered to share their sites with us, but we found a beautiful, shaded site in the power-boater area along the west side. A family was packing up just as we arrived, so we took over their excellent spot. It was well we did—by late afternoon, all the campsites were taken.

    The trip was a huge success. We saw diving Caspian terns. A friendly harbor seal escorted us part of the way to the island. Bald eagles were scooping fish out of the water. Maya got to build sand castles on the beach, explore the forests and meadows inland, and best of all, play in the tent with her stuffed-animal dogs for as long as she wanted. In the morning, Rachel made us delicious banana pancakes from scratch, then Maya took a short nap in the kayak while we paddled back to Southworth.

    01 Caspian tern overhead.JPG
    01 Caspian tern overhead. There were a lot of these beautiful hunters at the Fauntleroy ferry launch. Most are probably breeders whose chicks have recently fledged.

    02 Caspian tern diving.JPG
    02 Caspian tern diving. They hit the water with a terrific splash.

    03 Caspian tern surfacing.JPG
    03 Caspian tern surfacing empty-handed. Only about a fifth of the dives I observed yielded any fish.

    04 Alex and Maya.JPG
    04 Alex and Maya on the way to Blake Island. Maya helped me paddle.

    05 Alex Rachel and Maya.JPG
    05 Family eating lunch. Maya loved romping around the campsite barefoot all day.

    06 Maya in tent.JPG
    06 Maya in the tent. Maya swiftly figured out the complicated system of zippers to let herself in and out.

    07 Rachel on way home.JPG
    07 Rachel on the way home. I mistakenly packed up her sun hat in an inaccessible part of my boat, so she improvised.

    Blake Island’s water system has been temporarily shut down, but we brought enough water to see us through the weekend. The small campground on the south end of the island has been permanently closed. The remaining campsites are: the three kayak-only sites on the northwest point, the dozen or so power-boater sites on the west side, and the thirty or so power-boater sites near the marina on the east side, which feature showers. I’m told the water system still works in the eastern sites. Currents between Blake Island and Southworth run about three-quarters of a knot at most, usually less.

    Astoriadave likes this.