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Old 10-05-2015, 13:37   #1
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pirate Is an Inflatable Kayak okay in Discovery Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington?

I hope I can reach someone who has direct experience using an inflatable boat or kayak in Discovery Bay or other similar waters surrounding or near the Olympic Peninsula. Experience with an inflatable craft in similar waters elsewhere in the world might also be of some help.
I will be staying for a while at Discovery Bay this summer and have a Sea Eagle 330 two-seater (11.2 feet long). The place I'll stay has its own (gravelly) beach and dock, so I don't need to worry about how to get into the water. Also, I will be in it just for the joy of being on the water - I won't be fishing or going with any destination in mind.
I do worry, though, about using an inflatable kayak in waters open to the wild ocean waters. I'm not worried about the weather or waves, just the wildlife, such as possible orcas or other sea creatures. I have several questions.
1) With the wild sea animals in mind, would it be advisable for me to put in at Discovery Bay in my SE-330? My intent is to stay within a few hundred feet of the dock, but I might decide to extend that depending on how I feel while I'm on the water.
2) If I decide to row away from my lodging and go toward Protection Island to do a bit more exploring, would I have any further worries about wild sea life? I sometimes picture myself being checked out by a pod of orcas and then having one or more of them decide to take a bite of my small kayak, which would likely leave me hoping that my life vest will keep me safe in the cold water until outside help can arrive.
3) Would I be better off to forget the Discovery Bay idea and drive to a local fresh-water lake to put in and paddle around, such as Anderson Lake?
4) If you have further tips or advice about using the SE-330 in that particular area, either salt water or fresh water lakes, please include those in your response.
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Old 10-05-2015, 13:51   #2
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Re: Is an Inflatable Kayak okay in Discovery Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington?

Imho, don't concern yourself about the wildlife.
If you venture out very far, keep track of the tidal current and be prepared to dress warm if there is wind.
What month will you be there? August is known as Fogust.
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Old 10-05-2015, 13:54   #3
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Re: Is an Inflatable Kayak okay in Discovery Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington?

Greetings JoeFoid,

I believe that your concern for wild animal hazard is unwarranted. I have been paddling and swimming in the waters of Western Washington for 45 years and have never given a moments thought about animal danger. The exception is to not come into contact with the large, orange colored jellyfish while swimming. They have a nasty sting not unlike a hornet sting.

I believe that you should be concerned about wind and waves that may build while paddling away from shore. Your proposed trip to Protection Island would be doable but only with a guaranty of very light wind. Not sure how to get a guaranteed weather forecast

Just this morning I paddled a couple miles in my Aquaglide Chinook kayak (similar to your Sea Eagle) on Hood Canal. Great way to spend the morning.

Enjoy.

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Old 10-05-2015, 19:56   #4
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Re: Is an Inflatable Kayak okay in Discovery Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington?

Thanks for the responses. Those quieted my concerns. I like the NW and I look forward to my visit up there this coming summer, including some water time, with or without my wife, who might enjoy just as much sitting on shore and reading a book.
Enjoy!
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Old 11-05-2015, 04:29   #5
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Re: Is an Inflatable Kayak okay in Discovery Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington?

Also agree with above comments. Paddled the coastal pacific waters in a variety of craft. Wildlife is not really a go/no-go concern. Consider yourself lucky if you do see something and above all, don't panic! Waterproof camera is a must!
And biggest concern especially with an inflatable is wind and current. Those boats have no displacement and blow like crazy in anything more than a mild breeze. Serious wind? Forget it. Check your tide schedules too and try and plan your route to complement the conditions. You might be able to paddle against one or the other but if you have to fight both? Not so much.
Of course make sure you have a great open water PFD and some means of communication.
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Old 11-05-2015, 10:06   #6
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Re: Is an Inflatable Kayak okay in Discovery Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington?

Killer whales don't bite kayaks.

The only possible danger you might have from one is if a group of transients are chasing a seal and it decides to hop on your boat to hide. They do that from time to time on tour boats. Nobody's been whacked by the whales trying to get the seal, but I'd be pushing the seal off pretty quick!

Most of the killer whales around here are residents, though, and they eat chinook salmon, not seals.

As others have said, wind and current should be taken seriously. Have communications with you and understand the currents and winds.
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Old 11-05-2015, 10:25   #7
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Re: Is an Inflatable Kayak okay in Discovery Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington?

I grew up in that area and do a great deal of boating around there still.

Inflatable kayaks suck when it comes to bucking the elements. You basically will have little alternative than going with the flow. Stay in the Bay and forget about venturing out in the straits.
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Old 11-05-2015, 11:16   #8
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Re: Is an Inflatable Kayak okay in Discovery Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington?

Thank you all for your tips.
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Old 11-05-2015, 11:32   #9
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Re: Is an Inflatable Kayak okay in Discovery Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington?

A couple of years ago, 2006 I think, Luna was wrecking havoc in Nootka sound, bumping into boats and such. No malice, just being a bit of a dick .
Unfortunately he was killed by the prop from a tugboat.
I've paddled/sailed/dove/swam/rowed the coast of B.C. for four decades and never had a concern for aquatic wildlife.
As others have warned, watch wind and currents and have fun.


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Old 11-05-2015, 11:49   #10
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Cool Re: Is an Inflatable Kayak okay in Discovery Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington?

All above is good advice. Be wary of barnacles on beachs, pilings and docks which can rip a hole in your inflatable.
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Old 11-05-2015, 23:47   #11
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Re: Is an Inflatable Kayak okay in Discovery Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington?

Joe, Welcome to the world of boating and kayaking. I live and sail and paddle in those same waters and can say that so long as you are wearing the proper gear, a dry suit or a farmer john and a dry top so that you can survive if you go into the water you'll be ok. However the winds and currents have to be watched carefully. I would not wander to far from shore untill you get the experience and confidence to cross over to Protection Island or Bennet point. If you do venture over to Protection, plan on leaving Diamond Point Near the slack tide before the ebb and return with the flood tide. Most of the time you can expect to be paddling into the wind on the way there and have a tail wind on the way back.The prevailing wind will be blowing into the bay. Beware if it is an easterly as it can blow real hard out of that bay and it would be hell getting back home. The island protects you most of the time from any big north Westerlies so the waves should not be a big thing if you choose to go on a calm day. There are several paddling clubs around that you should look into. It is always safer and more fun to paddle with others and they may offer some good local knowledge of the waters and weather. good luck
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Old 10-07-2015, 10:03   #12
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Re: Is an Inflatable Kayak okay in Discovery Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington?

Thanks, again, to all of you who responded to my post. I especially enjoyed Steve's (Panope) mention that he had been on similar waters in the area on the day he posted his reply.
My experience, for those who would like to read about it:
Our 1-week stay at Discovery Bay ended last week. Because of other planned activities, my water time took a back seat until Friday and Saturday (June 26 and 27). Friday was too windy, so I waited until Saturday in hopes that the wind would subside. It was windy, then, too. As it was my last chance to get on the water in Discovery Bay, I decided to go for it anyway.
Because of the wind, I stayed near the dock to get used to the handling in the wind, both going against and going with it. Eventually, I did venture out into more open water and paddled into the wind up to the water off the neighboring property, which was about 1/5 mile North of the dock, and then leisurely paddled back with the wind just outside the dock and around to the beach, where my wife was sitting in the shade.
If we make it back there, I won't hesitate to try it again and probably venture out farther. I'll just hope I can choose a calmer day for it. Without the wind, that would have been just about perfect for my first time on the water with my inflatable kayak. With the wind, it was a good learning experience.
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