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You start out by paddling in the Duwamish River paddling north with the current toward Elliot Bay. Paddle on the east side of Harbor Island, past the tugboats and under the Harbor Island Bridge, CAUTION…at extreme high tide there may not be enough clearance to pass. Once past the bridge you are in the East Waterway, during the week use caution here as on the west side of the waterway is docking for containerized ships and on the east side of the waterway is docking for cruise ships, during summer months mainly. It is approximately 2 miles from the launch to the end of the water way and Elliot Bay.
Once in the Bay, head west paddling along the north end of Harbor Island past the Lockheed Shipyards and the dry docks. Keep an eye out for harbor seals. It is approximately 1.5 miles to the west side of Elliot Bay. The city skyline is on your right. There are ferries leaving Coleman Dock for Bainbridge Island and Bremerton every half hour or so, Elliot Bay can be quiet busy even on a weekend. Paddling along the shore will keep you well clear of traffic.
Once you reach the west side of the Bay follow, the shore line past Salty's (a great seafood restaurant, past the public launch to Duwamish Head. Keep an eye out for sea lions that use the anchorage platforms as sleeping places, steer clear by at least 300 feet and enjoy their barking.
At the Head the shore falls away to Southwest. Paddle along the seawall toward the beach about 1.3 miles. This area is very popular with runners, walkers, skaters and there is a walkway along the shoreline here. During the summer the beach is quite busy. Look for the large building on the beach and plan to land just east of it. There are public restrooms located just down form the concessions building. You can either bring a lunch/snack or enjoy one of the several restaurants in the area.
The paddle back is a reverse course but use the West Waterway to get back to the launch point. Again you'll be passing the Port of Seattle use caution for large ships and boats. Depending on the tides, expect that you will encounter current following out the waterway from the Duwamish River.
This is a great urban paddling experience. Even if you have lived in Seattle for a while paddling here reminds you just how great a view we do have here. If you get a great weather day you can see the Olympics in the west and Cascades and Mount Rainer in the East.
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