I crabbed the inflatable kayak along the sand bar, looking for a channel. There wasn’t one. The current was against me, spilling over the wide breadth of the cut like a fan, the bottom visible a couple of feet below. I made for the eddies along the starboard shore, staying as close to the bank as possible. It was the inside of the dogleg and offered the most current relief. As I approached the turn, I was forced out into the center of the stream to stay in navigable water. “If I can make way here, I can make it all the way.”

I was paddling the new Oak Bay/ Kilisut Harbor tidal cut between Indian and Marrowstone Islands. This project was spearheaded by the Northern Olympic Salmon Coalition and coordinated with the Washington State Department of Transportation. It involved replacing a causeway with a 450-foot bridge and re-establishing a natural tidal channel between the two islands.

My journey began the day before when I left Boat Haven on Sampaguita, my Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20, with the Aire inflatable kayak in tow. Strong Labor Day winds blew us quickly to Mystery Bay, where we anchored in the lee of the point, just off the Marine Park dock.

Sampaguita tows the kayak