What goes around…

Going around Eagle Island

Why we decided to circumnavigate all the islands of the Puget Sound

Training for the Seventy48 race, we tackle longer paddles. Mileage is important if you plan on kayaking 70 miles in 48 hours.  In 2018, we paddled along the race route – which meant setting a car at the endpoint. Not only was this time consuming and wasteful, if the weather wasn’t as forecast we would have to drive back up to get the car. One time, we even paddled part way to our shuttle car before the weather turned, and we had to call a Lyft to make it back to the car.

The Seventy48 finish line 2019.

Why Not Out-and-Back?

We also discovered that out-and-backs can be tricky due to tides. And when you finish the out-and-back there is little sense of accomplishment. The scenery is the same; it just switches sides. We needed a goal, something to strive for. After one particularly uninspiring out-and-back, my wife put forward the circumnavigation idea. Just like it sounds, we’re going to go around things. In particular, islands. In an all-or-nothing spirit, and very sure of ourselves after finishing Seventy48 twice, we decided that we are circumnavigating the islands in the Puget Sound… eventually. Because of the size of some of these islands, we aren’t necessarily going to tackle an island in one trip: we’ll pick up where we left off or join multiple paddles together to close the circle.

So… how are we defining “island”?

At first, I decided if it’s surrounded by water, it’s an island. But because the Sound is tidal there are “islands” that are there at low tide but underwater at high tide. There are also islands at high tide that aren’t islands at low tide. After more time than you would have expected we decided it has to be an island at mean tide. We don’t have a minimum size yet, so some of the islands we need to paddle around might also be called rocks.

A rock, sometimes island off the coast of Fox Island.

Ultimately we are goal-driven

I have come to realize that if I don’t have a goal, I have a hard time getting myself motivated. I like trying to get somewhere or accomplish something. The circumnavigation plan has given me a purpose, something to strive for, a reason to put miles of water under the keel, and to see so much of the beauty that is abundant in Puget Sound. So that’s the plan, in the next post I’ll share some of our progress.


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