Explore the Rugged Coastline of the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the Olympic Peninsula.
Bordered by the recently dam free Elwha River and empty wilderness beaches, Freshwater Bay is located a few miles west of Port Angeles, a short day drive from Seattle. Paddle below rock cliffs while exploring pocket beaches and tide pools filled rich marine life.
Curious harbor seals will follow our path with sea birds perch in the cliffs above. Orca and porpoise sightings are common along this stretch. We’ll look into sea caves and arches and take breaks on the protected sandy pocket beaches.
On July 21,1790 Spanish explorer Manual Quimper anchored his sloop Princess Real in a large bay west of Dungeness. Quimper wrote that indians met him in two canoes offering him salmonberries and directed them towards fresh water, either at Colville Creek or the Elwha River nearby. He traded small iron pieces for the berries and noted the ‘delicious water was taken from a beautiful stream (Wagner 1933). British explorer Henry Kellett named the bay Freshwater Bay in 1846.
Route A – Launching into shallow sandy bottomed Freshwater Bay, if conditions are calm we’ll paddle around Bachelor Rock a towering sea stack covered in mussels and surrounded by expansive sea star filled tide pools. Traveling along the Strait under 400 foot bluffs we’ll duck into several protected pocket beaches each with rich marine life below your feet such as sea grasses, varieties of kelp and large schools of candlefish and moon jellies.
Route B – If surf is small or flat we’ll launch from Salt Creek Recreational Area and paddle around or over Tongue Point entering the cliff section from the west. Hidden Cove awaits us 1.5 miles in with an overhead waterfall.
Who is this Tour For? This is a great tour if you’re looking to learn how to paddle in coastal environments and build skills in rough water. We’ll discuss outfitting and packing for a trip, safety skills for open water paddling and how this type of paddling can help improve your overall skills in surfing, downwind and touring.
If conditions are windy we’ll stay in Freshwater Bay which is protected by weather enjoying the shallow sandy bottom and clear water with tide pools and sea life below our feet. A marine life rich kelp bed nearly a mile long awaits our curiosity. You’ll see otters, harbor seals, birds, bald eagles and views of the Elwha River mouth 2 miles to the east.
Nearby Sights: Crescent Beach, Lake Crescent and Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park and the newly released Elwha River. Stop at the Harbinger Winery on Highway 101 for a tasting of NW wines after the tour.
Camping/Lodging: Salt Creek Rec Area, Crescent Beach RV Park, Harris Beach Beach Park, Whiskey Creek Resort, VRBO and hotels in Port Angeles. Ask for travel tips.
Who is This Tour For? Level 2 and above – intermediate and advanced paddlers looking to learn new skills paddling in a coastal environment with ocean swell. Not sure of your skill level? Contact us to chat.
Tour Size: 1 – 6 People.
Duration: 3 Hours – 1 hour of optional instruction to give you the skills you need to feel comfortable on the water; 2 hours of enjoyable paddling to take in the scenery. We will take breaks. Paddling pace is casual given the sights.
Looking for more adventure? Add our SUP Surfing Class which is held nearby.
Schedule: Summer. Usually before or after a surfing class. Or call us when you want to go!
Weather Changes: Tours can be affected by tides, wind and swell direction for the Strait. Backup route for weather is held in a protected section of Freshwater Bay nearby.
Gear included with cost – Stable boards, paddle, leash, PFD, wetsuit, booties. gloves, hoods and optional helmets.
Group Rate: $135 pp – Classes with 3 – 6 people.
Semi Private: $155 pp – 2 People.
One on one: $190 pp (1 person)
Private group trips welcome.
Bringing Your Own Gear? You’ll need a super stable board to have a fun day in small waves and current. Narrow race boards will be tippy and difficult to manage. We require a PFD, leash and wet or drysuit. Booties recommended for walking on the rugged shore.
How to Schedule – Contact: 206.465.7167 or firstname.lastname@example.org