Here we explore West Seattle from a local perspective with periodic musings from West Seattleites about the community they love to call home. Please check back often for fresh perspectives.
By Lori Hinton
Surrounded by water on three sides, the West Seattle peninsula enjoys miles of beach front and the water sports that go along with it — from fishing and paddle boarding to kite surfing and tide pooling. But there’s only one company that launches people-powered kayak fun in West Seattle’s nearby bays and waterways — Alki Kayak Tours.
Located at Seacrest Marina on Harbor Avenue just a short bike or bus ride from Mural, tours begin within one nautical mile from the city, but another world full of wildlife, waves and watery wonderment awaits just a few paddle strokes away.
First, Greg and Kara Whittaker (a seasoned San Juan kayak guide and ornithologist) share the route plan, safety tips and boat-fit on shore. Then it’s time to get your feet wet and slip into your brightly colored craft.
Once you learn to paddle perpendicular into oncoming ferry wakes and find the sleek vessel extremely stable, your eyes begin opening to the wilder side of West Seattle.
Just two boat lengths away, bobs a pigeon guillemot and a curiously cute harbor seal — visible every few seconds between wavelengths. Round Duwamish Head and witness a pod of Dall’s porpoises with distinctive rooster tail spray as they surface and head south for a salmon dinner off Alki. The more time on the water, the more you’ll see creatures.
Look beyond sea-level, toward the Blake Island and the Olympics, and you’re at the front door of the wilderness. Gaze toward Seattle and the sparkling cityscape (plus a dusk-pink Mt. Rainier) welcomes you back to a place you, now, might appreciate even more.
So whether you want to de-stress in the sunset after work or you have visitors in town who’d love to see the Sound, snap on your spray skirts and paddle your way out to the wetter, wilder side of West Seattle with Alki Kayak Tours. September is historically one of our best weather months so it’s not too late to get out on the water.
Please note that reservations are recommended on all tours.
What to bring:
Sandals or shoes to use in salt water, appropriate clothes for the weather (synthetic materials and water resistant jackets recommended), water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses.
No experience is necessary.
Street parking is available.
For more info, visit: www.kayakalki.com.