Kayaking the CMT: Camano to Anacortes

The Cascadia Marine Trail is a collection of campsites and launch points that enable people that use beachable and non-motorized watercraft access to travel through Puget Sound in an age of disappearing public access to the shoreline. I am working on knocking out what I refer to as sections of the CMT over the weekends as I love being able to get back on the salt water and do more of a thru-kayak approach to overnights. My goal this time was to go from the Northern Side of Camano Island to Bellingham Bay on my 3 day weekend but that got cut short due to an overuse injury halfway through the second day.

After being dropped off by my father- we headed North on our biggest crossings of the trip. The wind was at our back for the entire crossing to Goat Island.


Goat Island was once the host of the 4th base in the Triangle of Fire in Puget Sound known as Fort Whittman. Now the obvious question is how can there be a 4th point in a triangle without forming a square? I will give you a hint: it makes no sense. The benefit of this island is that it is a lesser known base so you can generally get the entire place to yourself and the moss compliments the age. Unfortunately- people have felt the need to mark their territory on it so it isn’t as nice as it could be.


The Island has some fairly large cliffs on the North side and the view is quite nice through the trees. It is fun to imagine what the people stationed here were thinking while they waited for a potential surprise attack through Deception Pass.


We continued toward¬†Deception Pass fairly quick as we didn’t want to attempt to fight the current flowing against us if we arrived too late. Peak currents hit 6 knots this weekend but we waited until they were closer to 3 knots before going through. I didn’t take many pictures as I was focused mainly on not getting hit by other boat traffic and navigating the currents.


We made it through and went over to Bowman Bay where we got a glimpse of the large opening to the Pacific along with storm clouds off in the distance. I really enjoyed paddling through this area.

Bowman Baysml

The view opened up really well once we exited Bowman Bay.


It was at this point that I remembered there being sea caves along the walls outside of Bowman Bay. We explored a couple of them as I love caving. The waves kept on threatening to crush me into the ceiling which was exciting as well.


Since I was in my fiberglass kayak, I had to be really careful around the rocks. One bad hit and I would be swimming with the fishes and I only doggy-paddle. This is why I wear PFDs.


The wind kicked up after this exploration and we found ourselves paddling through some fairly big waves as we approached Allen Island. We had a good time and were ready to get some good food and fall asleep at the CMT campsite on Burrows Island. We saw a large group of rather noisy kayakers in front of us and got concerned that they would be joining us for the night but they headed back to shore and we had the entire campsite to ourselves. We cooked up our food and packed up our gear as best as possible as a storm was predicted to roll in during the night.


I only woke up a few times but the storm left quite a bit of water inside my tent. I forgot to lower my tent so the wind would have a harder time to bring rain inside. I was happy to learn that my new sleeping bag works really well and I stayed toasty all night.

The morning paddle consisted of an incredible boost from the currents around Bowman Island and we were able to log 11.9mph on the GPSr. It was exciting having to deal with the large waves, swift current, and intense rain/spray from the waves. We had a blast.

Then as we approached Anacortes it became apparent that my paddling buddy was having elbow issues that would lead to a shortened trip. I started to look for alternative landing areas as we approached downtown Anacortes. Along the way we were able to see some cool rotting boats!

The La Merced was the first of such boats. You wouldn’t guess it now- but it was a four masted schooner that was commissioned in 1917 and put into “service” as a breakwater in 1966. It has seen better days- that is for sure!


Continuing into Anacortes we found some more dying boats. This tug had a very fitting name, although I have doubts as to if it was named that originally. If you look at the boat to the left of this picture- you can see a similar boat with a lot of holes in its hull (I am assuming to reduce air resistance).


We landed at the Anacortes Seafarer’s Memorial and I dried out as much gear as I could while we waited for my father to come out and pick us up.


We ate at Anthony’s diner which had amazing food and did a quick look at the bay from above before heading home- feeling tired but happy (and maybe a little sunburned) after a good 36 mile paddle. Even though this trip had reached its end- I am looking forward to reaching Canada and also finishing off a couple more sections in the hopefully near future!


Happy (water) Trails Everyone!