A few words to describe this years Paddle Kitsap, fun, anticipation, unpredictable weather… Downward Dog? This two day event that we host every year has its daily challenges and pleasures. This year we paddled from Silverdale Water Front Park to Downtown Poulsbo with an overnight at Illahee State Park.
With every paddling trip, weather is always a factor. The night before the paddle, we had a horrendous lightning storm. Many of us were concerned of the potential cancellation of the trip. After hours of terrible weather, the lightning subsided and left our concerns at ease.
On Saturday morning paddlers started showing up in droves. With about 25 kayaks and one stand up paddleboard on the beach, we were ready to begin. Our program director, Spring Courtright, gave her safety talk and our owner, John Kuntz, gave a speech about Paddle Kitsap and the newly established Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail. By 9:30 we were on the water with a five mile paddle to Lions Park ahead. Faced with a headwind, we still made great time, but our stand up paddle boarder was faced with a challenging first five miles but he powered through those tough winds.
At Lions Park, our food coordinator, Katie Savage, had lunch waiting for us. After the first half of the paddle we were all starving. With an assortment of sandwiches, fruit, chips, etc, we fueled up as much as we could.
For the second half of our paddle to Illahee State Park we had the tide on our side and we were cruising. After we passed a Bald Eagle feasting on the beach and Harrison Hospital’s annual party at Bremerton’s Evergreen Park, we rounded Point Herron and started to head north. The wind was behind us and in no time we were there and ready to set up camp.
For dinner we had pulled pork tacos and beer. We stayed up sharing kayak stories, life experiences and potential future paddling trips.
The next morning, Katie had breakfast waiting for us when we woke up. We had french toast, muffins, fruit, and most importantly… coffee. We were on the water by 9:30 again and had another five miles to Brownsville Marina.
With a relaxing paddle, we made great time and had a chance to take a break at the Brownsville Marina. We all decided that we needed to do some stretching before the next leg of our journey, so we agreed to try some yoga. Most of us had little to no experience with stretching, much less yoga. Needless to say we all had a good laugh and were able to limber up in the process.
Back on the water, our next destination was Keyport for lunch. Staying clear of the military base, we were there in no time. Katie again had food waiting for us and the general store where we ate gave us free ice cream and beer. The owner was very gracious. After relaxing for over an hour, we were ready for the last leg of our journey. Poulsbo was right around the corner with only a few miles left. Passing under the marina docks and seeing baby seals, we were finally at our destination.
After a wonderful two days of paddling and getting to know our fellow paddlers, we cannot wait until next year’s event. Please share this event with your friends and family and come join in on the fun next year!