We launched from the beach at North Beach County Park. Paddled west along the shoreline of the Strait of Juan de Fuca past Middlepoint. It was a very calm day with a forecast of light breezes and relatively warm temperatures for January. We intended to head for Protection Island at the mouth of Discovery Bay on the outgoing tide and then catch the tide change and ride the incoming tide back. When we got a half mile or so past Middlepoint, we heard whales blowing out in the Strait. We headed toward the sound, we couldn’t see them at first. When we spotted them we were far offshore and almost to the shipping channel. It was a pod of Orcas or Killer Whales. Lots of huge freighters here, we could see a couple heading toward the vicinity of the whales. We were disappointed but decided they were too far out and turned back toward shore for safety’s sake. As we paddled back and got closer to land, we heard whales blowing behind us, turned around and a mother and calf were 100 yards behind us and headed our way. Absolutely thrilling. I got the camera out of the dry bag and started a video as they passed within 20 yards of us! I was so excited watching them, I didn’t aim the camera so the video pretty much missed them except the sound. I did get some pictures; they went 150 yards in toward shore past us and the calf began to frolic around mom. It was the most wonderful and exciting experience of our many years of paddling before and since. We’ve seen gray whales a few times too but this was topped them all. We kept our distance and eventually they headed east along the shore toward Point Wilson. Amazing
Check the tides and marine forecast carefully. These waters can be tricky as currents nearshore are unpredictable when the wind comes up and at tide change.
In the winter, we wear drysuits in these waters, other times of the year we always wear wetsuits. Even in summer, the water temp is mid 50s.
- Trip Dates: 1/2/2010
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Water Type: Open Water/Ocean