Out in the Salish Sea, between Sequim and Discovery Bay, is a wild place named Protection Island. After years of damage from farming, development and even artillery practice this island wildlife refuge is recovering and thriving. The Shoreline, grasslands and bluffs are the breeding and nesting grounds to a wide variety of bird species. In fact it’s one of only two Puffin breeding grounds left in the Salish Sea. While the island is closed to visitors, boat tours are permitted 200 yards off the shoreline. Booking a summer boat tour is your best chance to view the elusive puffin. The Puget Sound Express offer 3 hour Protection Island Puffin Cruises all summer long. Cruises depart at 6:00 PM from Port Townsend on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula. Plan a summer adventure touring the Salish Sea and spotting rare wildlife.
BirdFest kicks off the brilliant spring birding season in Sequim. The 15th annual Olympic Peninsula BirdFest will attract bird lovers far and wide. The amazing variety of birds found in and around Sequim makes this a very popular event. In fact the National Audubon Society recognized an area of the Dungeness River an Important Bird Area. Additionally, Sequim’s Dungeness River Audubon Center has been named “Bird Central” for the festival. It is the meeting place for many walks and tours. Plan a weekend in Sequim full of fun birding activities at the 2018 BirdFest, starting April 12th until the 15th, 2018.
2018 BirdFest Activities
Choose from a long list of exciting field trips, walks, talks, and tours during this packed weekend made for bird enthusiasts. Check out the events list for great bird watching and spotting opportunities. Here are a few highlights planned for the weekend:
- Dungeness River Audubon Center – This nature center is the hub of activity for BirdFest. Gather here for the April 12th BirdFest kick off party. They will also host bird drawing classes and even a live raptor presentation.
- Sequim Bay – Discover the wonderful variety of shorebirds on this walk that meets Friday and Saturday at John Wayne Marina, in Sequim. The many species include plovers, sandpipers, Rhinoceros Auklets, and Barrow’s Goldeneyes.
- Dungeness Spit – Walking this spit is a year-round favorite for bird watchers. Join fellow bird lovers on Friday and Saturday for this 5.5 mile walk along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It’s a spectacular viewing area for inshore and offshore wildlife. Look out for loons, grebes, sea ducks, Red-throated Loons, Northern Harriers and Golden-crowned Sparrows.
- Early Morning and Evening Walks – There are several walks and bike rides designed to hear early morning bird songs or find elusive owls during evening hikes.
- Boat Trips to Protection Island – This very popular Sunday cruise is limited to only 50 travelers and fills up quick! The three hour trip to the island preserve offers many seabird and marine mammal viewing opportunities.
- San Juan Island Cruise – Join this 3-day, 2 night cruise, with an expert naturalist guide. During this exciting trip learn more about the whales, seals and seabirds. The cruise departs from the John Wayne Marina in Sequim.
- Totem Tour – This fascinating guided tour begins at the 7 Cedars Casino in Sequim, and then explores the history, legends, and folktales of the carved columns.
April marks the departure of winter birds and arrival of the spring migration. This is a perfect time to spot Sequim’s winter and spring avian residents. This region of western Washington has diverse habitats, and is home to an impressive array of birds. While enjoying the 2018 BirdFest, be sure to explore the charming town of Sequim. It’s easy to see why many bird lovers make their home here. Imagine waking up each morning to beautiful bird songs and the opportunity to add another one to your life list. Contact our wonderful staff at Schwab Realty to find a your perfect sanctuary.
Before summer is over, glide your kayak through the cool waters surrounding Sequim. There are many possibilities to explore our gorgeous coastline. Any choice will have beautiful scenery and a chance to encounter wildlife. One of the best things about living in Sequim is the ability to enjoy mother nature throughout a good majority of the year. Summertime is definitely special, though, as evidenced by the sheer number of people who visit the Olympic Peninsula on a given summer weekend. Take advantage of our incredible summer weather in Sequim, and plan a kayaking adventure to top off your summer. Disappointment will be the furthest thing from your mind as you paddle in these beautiful waters.
The Best Places to Kayak in Sequim
Sequim is a kayaker’s dream. Depending on your relative experience, you can paddle in serene, sheltered bays, or head out to the Strait of Juan de Fuca to tour the Dungeness Spit. There are many options to create your own kayak excursion, but we have a few suggestions to get you started.
Sequim and Discovery Bay are sheltered and peaceful kayaking locations. Launch within Sequim Bay at the John Wayne Marina or the Sequim Bay State Park. North of the bay there is a launch at Port Williams. The Travis Spit protects the entrance to the bay and leaves a narrow channel, so plan to ride the tides through it. Explore the bay’s historic landmarks and beautiful cliffs. When leaving the bay consult the tidal charts again, and ride the tide out. Then continue east to Discovery Bay. You will pass the wildlife refuge Protection Island, which is often an incredible place for some distant birdwatching. Violet Spit, on the east end of the island, is a popular sunbathing spot for harbor and elephant seals. Discovery Bay is larger and has 20 miles of shoreline. Since there is only one marina and public boat launch there is very little traffic, and you’ll feel like you have the entire bay to yourself.
The Dungeness Spit is a must-see when kayaking in Sequim. Travel the windswept west side on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the sheltered east side harbor. Launch your kayak from the Cline Spit or Dungeness Landing. Explore the Dungeness Harbor and the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. Avid birdwatchers love this area, which is home to an incredible variety of seabirds. There are several areas that are approved for kayaking in the refuge, and it’s best to get acquainted with their map before you head out on your trip. After enjoying the harbor, head out to the Dungeness Bay and take in the views of the historic lighthouse. Once around to the west side, drift along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. As you pass the windswept beach, look for Bald Eagles perched on driftwood. Continuing down, the spit’s terrain changes to grassy bluffs where many seabirds live. Keep an eye out for orca whales, they also like to visit the pristine waters around Sequim.
Kayak Groups and Rentals
There are many resources to help you plan your next kayaking trip. The Washington State Park website has a list of safety guidelines, as well as local paddling groups. For example, the Olympic Peninsula Paddler’s Club holds meetings at Sequim’s public library. There are also several Kayak and paddleboard rental businesses that offer lessons and guided tours. If you need to rent equipment, we recommend heading to GoXpeditions, which offers a variety of equipment, including sit-on-top kayaks, regular and extra-wide paddleboards, and pedal equipped kayaks. They also host paddle camps for kids where they can learn kayaking skills and safety. Given To Glide Paddle Sports sells new and used paddleboards, and their website is a great resource for paddling tips. Check out their extensive guide to traversing Sequim Bay that includes a custom map to help you navigate. For guided tours, consider one of the beginners or expert adventures offered by Adventures Through Kayaking. They also provide all the gear and take care of all the planning for you, which means you get to sit back, relax, and enjoy the adventure before you!
There are few places in the world more beautiful and well-suited to kayaking. You can spend a lifetime exploring all the treasures found here, which is one of the many reasons so many paddlers call Sequim home. Come out for a visit and see if we have the perfect home for you and your kayak. Our experienced and dedicated Real Estate Agents will be more than happy to help you make this particular dream a reality!
It’s official; Spring is here! There’s still a little chill to the air in the Pacific Northwest, and it’s definitely been a rainier winter than most, but that’s almost over. Spring is a glorious time to be in Sequim. The mild weather here means outdoor activities are plentiful no matter the season. However, even on the Olympic Peninsula, there is still something distinctly special about spring time. The pull to get outside and enjoy the reawakening of mother nature is undeniable. Spring is the perfect time to enjoy quiet activities like birding and hiking through meadows of colorful wildflowers, and Sequim is an incredible place in which to enjoy these activities. Coming up in early April is the Olympic Birdfest; two incredible days of birding on the Washington Coast. Continue Reading
Though there’s still a chill in the air, a quick look out the window tells you that spring is here. One of the best parts about living in Sequim are the many activities that can be enjoyed throughout the year. The mild weather here means outdoor activities are plentiful no matter the season. However, even on the Olympic Peninsula, there is still something distinctly special about spring time. Though we certainly will see some rain at this time of year, the pull to get outside and enjoy the reawakening of mother nature is undeniable. Spring is the perfect time to enjoy quiet activities like birding and hiking through meadows of colorful wildflowers, and Sequim is an incredible place in which to enjoy these activities. Once you visit us for a day, you’ll want to stay for a lifetime. Continue Reading