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Circumnavigate Decatur Island (Lopez Island L3, 9-17-21)

  • September 17, 2021
  • 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • 12


  • Active club members, including kayaking professional and lifetime. Provisional acceptance, pending approval by the trip organizer if this is a paddle

This trip is limited to members with a wet exit certification (except for level 1 trips when the paddler is not using a spray skirt....if the paddler is wearing a spray skirt on a level 1 paddle, the Wet Exit Certification is REQUIRED).  To successfully register you will need to sign into your OOPS member account, and your account will need to be a member of the "Wet Exit Certified" group if you intend to wear a spray skirt.  Your acceptance is conditional on approval by the Organizer, who may contact you with questions about your skills and equipment.  If the measured water temperature is different enough from that listed below to warrant a change in required immersion protection, the Organizer will contact all participants and the Trips Board member with the update at least a day before the trip.

Full Name: Constance Lively
Activity Title: Circumnavigate Decatur Island (Lopez Island L3, 9-17-21)
Date of Activity: 9/17/2021
Narrative: Are you up for some adventure? Our goal, if you should choose to accept it, is to circumnavigate Decatur Island to the east of Lopez Island……a distance of about 14 miles. If we time the currents well and the winds stay reasonable, this is a beautiful and very do-able trip. But you should have good stamina for this one….in case the winds pick up or the currents surprise us. Bring plenty of water and snacks and a towline if you have one.

We will meet at Spencer Spit at 8 and launch no later than 9am in order to make it through Thatcher Pass with current assist. At Spencer Spit, use the gravel drive to get to the beach where you can unload your gear and return your car to the Day Use Area to park. A Discovery Pass is needed to park there for the day.

Decatur is a mostly private island with almost no commercial development. I’ve seen otter and mink along its shores, and the southern shore has a beautiful long beach. A rock collector’s paradise. From the eastern tip of Decatur we will paddle to James Island State Marine Park, where we can lunch and hike if we want. There is a composting toilet and 1-1/2 miles of hiking trails.

Leaving James Island we’ll follow the southeastern shore of Decatur Island and paddle through Lopez Pass in mid-afternoon. From there we travel back to take out at Spencer Spit. We will aim to be back to Spencer Spit around 4pm.

If conditions aren’t conducive to circumnavigating Decatur, we have the option of turning around at James Island and returning the way we came.

Meeting Time: 8:00:00 AM
Launch Time: 9:00:00 AM
Type of activity: Paddle Trip
Put in: SPENCER SPIT STATE PARK: Unload your boat at the beach and return your car to the Day Use Parking Area. Discovery Pass required for parking for the Day.
Take out: Spencer Spit
Route Alternative for bad weather: Spencer Spit to James Island and return…..or cancel.
Required equipment:
Minimum Immersion protection: Drysuit
Primary Organizer: Connie Lively
Assistant Organizer(s): Jay Nutt
Has organizer paddled here before? Yes
Has organizer led an OOPS paddle here before? No
Organizer's first aid and CPR current? Yes
First Aid /CPR Person:
Maximum number of paddlers: 10 including two TO’s
I certify that I understand and will conduct this activity in accordance with the OOPS Activity Policy: Yes
Estimated Air Temperature: 65
Estimated Water Temperature: 58
Estimated Water Time (including breaks/lunch): 6-7 hours
Tide times & heights: At Upright Head (north tip of Lopez). Low tide: 8:31am, -.78’; High tide: 4:32pm, +7.8’
Current information: 2mph max
Wind strength: Level 2: 7-12 knots (14 mph) – wind noticeably effects movement of paddle
Swell/Surf size: Level 2: Waves up to 2', no breaking waves
Sea state: Level 2: Waves up to armpit; light to moderate chop, scattered whitecaps
Landing types: Level 1: Frequent easy landing opportunities including gently sloping, sand, gravel or grass
Currents: Level 2: Mild currents (up to 2 knots): current increases / decreases group speed by half
Total distance: Level 3: 11 to 15 miles
Open crossing: Level 2: Less than 1 mile
Paddling Environment:
Overall rating: Level 3
Rating Comments: The distance makes this a Level 3 paddle. But if wind and sea conditions are higher than Level 2, we will modify our route.
Location (Optional): Spencer Spit State Park, 521 Bakerview Rd, Lopez Island, WA 98261
Photos (optional): yes

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