Kayaking on Lopez Island a Must Do

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Kayak with Edenwild

There is something special about the vantage point a kayak gives you. No other watercraft puts you as close to the water, and this is a huge advantage when it comes to viewing Lopez Island wildlife. Our island critters are less intimidated by kayakers, so you will be able to get up close and personal with our island’s wild wonders. Let’s go over some of these wild inhabitants of Lopez Island that you can expect to meet while kayaking with Edenwild on Fishermans Bay. 

 Harbor Seals

 Fishermans Bay is home to a colony of harbor seals, and mother seals even raise their little ones in its relative safety of the bay. As you paddle, keep your eyes peeled for these friendly and curious creatures. The best places to see seals while kayaking is right in the mouth of Fishermans Bay. This also happens to be right where you will be launching your Edenwild Kayak.

Seals hunt bait fish that are funneled in and out of the bay following the tides. Seals tend to be most playful while hunting and take time to interact with you by joyfully slapping their tails and cavorting about your kayak. Deeper into the bay, there are several rocky outcrops that momma seals use to raise their seal pups. A baby seal would take first place in a baby animal contest, so prepare for a cuteness overload!

 While it is tempting to get as close as you can to these little wonders, please give them distance. A momma seal will let you know if you are getting too close by shifting her position or slipping into the water. A respectful paddler should not be close enough to trigger these reactions. 

 River Otters

 Another aquatic mammal that is even more acrobatic than the seals is our island’s river otters. Several families of otters call the shores of Fishermans Bay home. These little guys are such a treat to watch either feasting on clams while floating on their backs or slinking along the beach hunting for an unsuspecting bite to eat. Lopez Island’s River Otters never fail to entertain if you get a chance to see them from a kayak.  

 Bald Eagles

 Bald Eagles are a common site on Lopez Island, and this is especially so while kayaking in Fisherman Bay. Eagles also hunt the baitfish schools that swim in and out of the bay each tide. You are likely to see these birds of prey perched upon the aid to navigation[1]  that marks the entrance to the Fishermans Bay. Eagles will also settle on the watchtowers of old reefnet boats that lay abandoned on the inner shoreline of the bay. Fishermen used these very towers to spot salmon when the Lopez Reef Net Fleet plied the waters of Lopez in times gone by. Our island eagles keep this fish watch tradition alive. 

Other Seabirds

 The sand split across from our launch is also a shorebird nesting ground and home to many species of seabirds. Black Oystercatchers are a favorite, and their black plumage along with a  bright orange beak make them easy to spot. Belted kingfishers with their blue coat and orange breast topped with a feather mohawk are also commonly seen hunting along the bay. Rhinoceros Auklets, a bird who wins the most unusual name, flock just offshore. A colorful assortment of sea ducks will also dot the waters of the bay as you paddle your kayak. 

 Underwater Creatures

 The most unappreciated view on Lopez Island is below the water’s surface. In a kayak you are close enough to the water to see down as much as 15 feet. When you combine this remarkable visibility with a low tide and light winds, you can get a window into a watery world that is usually under 25 feet of water. The bottom of the bay is teeming with more life than many tropical reefs.

 When looking down, you might see a forest of ghost white Plumose Anemones or colorful Brooding Anemones. Starfish can be found hunting rocky outcrops for clams and oysters. Most of them are orange or purple in color with five legs. The giant Sunflower star has up to 20 legs that nimbly scatter about the bottom in search of a meal. Dungeness, Red Rock, and kelp crabs are often seen scuttling about. Schools of tiny bait fish are a common site, and the trained eye will spot flatfish like rock sole and sand dabs hidden in sandy patches. Forests of seaweed, eelgrass, and bull kelp provide food and shelter for these underwater critters. Peeking into the underwater world might be the best party of kayaking in Fishermans Bay.       If you want to make kayaking a part of your Lopez Island getaway but do not have a kayak, Edenwild has you covered. We have a nice selection of single and tandem rental kayaks ready for you to explore Fisherman Bay. Our launch is just steps away from the inn!   

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