Seattle to Bainbridge/Kitsap Peninsula

Recently acquired my first kayak after several years of paddling SUPs (got tired of fighting winds!) I want to plan some overnight trips this summer and was thinking of paddling from Seattle (Golden Gardens) across the straight to either Bainbridge Island or to the Kitsap peninsula (Poulsbo? Indianola?)

My big question/concern is crossing the straight. I see those big cargo ships out there and REALLY want to stay clear of them since they can’t stop on a dime (assuming they even see me in a kayak!) I have the MarineTraffic tracking app on my phone so I can what vessels are out there and how fast they’re moving. Any suggestions/tips on safely crossing the channel? It’s less than 5 miles, straight line distance but no idea what to expect with regards to traffic and currents. Farthest I’ve strayed from shore is maybe a 1/2 mile or so.

Also any good camp sites on the north eastern side of the peninsula?

from the Columbia

must read and know

magooch has experience.

there would be a club, a club tour group on wekends, ask. Visit Gronseth’s

Washington Water Trails…
WWTA has info on paddle-in only campsites. Check them out. Join the organization. It’s cheap and definitely worth it.

on ships
The large ships generally stick to specific routes. if you look at the nautical charts for your area, you will see where they are. I think one of these two is the right one for you:

If you have a GPS with you, you could mark where they are and then know when you are inside or outside of the specific shipping channels.

In general, cross the shipping channels perpendicular to the ship’s route and get across as fast as possible.

And the ships do go faster than you think. In the open ocean, they are often doing faster than 20 knots. A kayak usually averages more like 3 knots.

Thanks, nautical charts sound like the key. I have the Marine Traffic app which tells me what’s out there, how fast it’s going and the direction it’s headed. However it doesn’t tell me it’s actual course so I can make sure I’m clear of it.

I’ve briefly spent time on Navy vessels so I have a HUGE respect for just how fast something that large can move and how impossible it is for them to stop or quickly change course. I want to make sure I’m nowhere near those vessels when crossing!

salt water paddling
The ships have trouble seeing you. Tugs pulling barges can be on long cables. The weather can reduce visibility a lot. Watch your tide table. Do not plan to cross any of the Straits without everthing in your favor.

Dress for immersion. Practice self rescue. Go in a group for safety and visibility. If your boat is blue or green, paint it yellow.