All over Friday Harbor now there is a 2 hour limit on street parking. I wanted to launch from the marina and paddle around Shaw Island so I ended up paying $4 for a day parking pass in the marina lot plus $5 for a kayak launch fee. Seems a little annoying to pay just to drop your boat in the water, I know. If it’s quiet and you’re inconspicuous you could probably sneak into the water using the nearby fuel dock for free, which I’ve done before but only out of ignorance.
The kayak launch dock has a couple small slips which make it easy to get in and out of your kayak, but in order to get there you have you carry it down a ramp and around a couple tight corners, which could be a challenge to do alone unless you have wheels or a lightweight boat. Another thing I don’t like about the kayak slips is that they have big metal dock cleats around the edges which tend to be an obstruction and threaten to put a ding in your boat when you are lifting it in and out of the slip. Who uses cleats anyway? It’s a stupid feature only a non−kayaker would have thought of. C’mon, guys −− kayaks don’t come equipped with docklines!
I planned to paddle around Shaw Island clockwise and timed my launch to take advantage of a weak flood current in San Juan Channel. Like the morning before, the wind was blowing from the southeast, which gave me a little boost. By the time I reached Wasp Passage at the northwest corner of Shaw it was slack in the channel. It was a pleasant paddle along the northern shore of Shaw now that I was sheltered from the wind. The forecast predicted lighter winds later in the day. Occasionally I could feel it still blowing, like when I crossed over to Blind Island for lunch.
The northeast shore of Shaw Island is very scenic −− rocky and undeveloped. When I started heading south again the ebb was beginning in Upright Channel. I took a break at a gently sloping sandy beach called Indian Cove. I wanted to take a peek at the campsites there in case I wanted to stay there in the future. By the time I started crossing over to Friday Harbor the ebb in San Juan Channel was probably at its max so it took a little bit more effort. Not too exciting, but overall a good day's paddle.