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Kayaking to Goat Island, an Almost Forgotten Military Relic

As if we weren’t exhausted from our ride-and-carry mountain biking excursion to Monte Cristo Ghost Town yesterday, we got it into our heads that paddling a couple miles in the ocean wouldn’t be that much of a challenge for our already tired limbs.

Actually, it was. Ha ha haaaaa…. Turns out, kayaking 3.25 miles out against the ocean’s incoming tide is very tiring. 😆

We started the day’s adventure at La Conner Kayak and rented an excellent tandem sea kayak from Bob. We’ve kayaked many times and kayaking is actually my absolute favorite, but we’ve never been on our own (without a guide) in the ocean. Bob gave us some really important tips on handling boat wakes, where to head out to, and some tips on spots we might enjoy. Thanks Bob!

La Conner Kayak Rental - Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

The distance to Goat Island is approximately 3.15 – 3.3 miles, give or take all the zig and zagging. 😉

Route map for Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

Since we were paddling against the tide, we had to paddle extra hard, which required quite a few rest stops for our tired arms.

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman
Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

The route to Goat island from La Conner passes along Shelter Bay, where there’s a lot of leisure boating activity. While a portion of that is a No Wake Zone, once you’ve paddled past that section, most boats passing by will leave a wake –which has the potential to flip the kayak. Paddle head on against the wake and you will be fine.

Goat Island within sight.

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

The closer we got to Goat Island, the more wildlife we saw. There were Harbour Seals everywhere we looked, curiously popping their heads out of the water. We managed to paddle right up to this Bald Eagle before he flew away.

Bald Eagle, Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

As the map above indicated, we paddled to the south side of Goat Island where there is a small beach for landing.

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

The beach is covered in broken shells.

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

We pulled our kayak as far off the shore as we could, next to a hidden cliff trail with a rope dangling alongside it.

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

We used the rope to hoist ourselves up to the top of the island.

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

View from the top, just after the climb.

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

We bush wacked our way through the forest until we came upon a clearing.

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

This almost forgotten fort was built in 1909 and finished in 1911. Positioned to guard the Deception Pass and Saratoga Pass entrances into Puget Sound, it is part of the Harbor Defense of Puget Sound.

(Our trip reports to other forts of the Harbor Defense of Puget Sound: Fort Flagler, Fort Casey, Fort Worden, & Camp Hayden)

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

Much of the fort has been taken over by the forest growth and unfortunately, graffiti.

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman
Graffiti, Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

At the time, we were the only ones on the island, however, you can definitely tell quite a few jackasses have visited.

Graffiti, Vandalism, Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman
Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

Here’s one now! JK JK

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman
Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman
Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman
Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

After exploring the fort, we decided to see what else was on the island. Much of it is overgrown and requires bushwacking.

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

Aaaaaand we’re done.

Garden snake, Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

Back we go. 😆

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

As we were getting ready to climb back down to the beach, we heard quite a bit of commotion down below. We peeked over the edge and spotted sea otters fighting over a crab. They were quite vocal about who was going to keep the crab. I’m sure the crab didn’t appreciate it. It probably made him very crabby.

Sea Otters, Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman
Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman
Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

Paddling back to La Conner was much easier as we had the tide going with us this time. It gave us extra time to watch the Harbour Seals.

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman
Seals, Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman
Harbour Seals, Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

We even spotted a heron along one of the beaches we paddled by.

Heron, Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman
Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

Success!! Crossing another one off our Washington State Bucketlist! We have been talking about doing this adventure for a few years, trying to figure out if it was possible. We really appreciate Bob’s La Conner Kayak business for making it possible! We’d love to do it again next summer.

Ocean Kayaking to Goat Island and Fort Whitman near La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

After returning our kayaks to Bob at La Conner Kayak and wiping down all the sea salt that had accumulated on our faces and limbs, we headed into cute downtown La Conner for lunch and a stop into our favorite antique shop there.

Downtown La Conner, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman

And of course, no summer trip in Washington is complete without farm fresh ice cream from Snow Goose Produce on the way home! …even if we did just indulge in farm fresh ice cream from Cascadian Farms Organic. 😉

Home made ice cream from Snow Goose Produce in Anacortes, Washington State - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/kayaking-goat-island-fort-whitman
Goat Island Water Trail Overview
Coordinates / Address
48.36433, -122.53556
Fees / Permit
N/A
Difficulty
Depends on weather conditions. If renting from La Conner Kayak, they will let you know conditions.
Usage
Moderate boat traffic in the area
Pets allowed
Yes
Camera Info
Canon EOS-M + EF-M 22mm f/2
iPhone 7+
Length
6-ish miles out & back
Tips
Time your route to paddle out when the tide is going out, & head back when the tide is coming back in
Things to Note
La Conner Kayak rentals are right on the water for easy launching.

Tags : la connerwashington kayakingwildlife