June is the month of appreciating the great outdoors. Luckily for the Bellevue College community, Washington is known for its diverse environment and accessibility to nature. We have mountains, forests, deserts and all sorts of bodies of water. This includes lakes, rivers, beaches and more, although for many different activities. Apart from swimming and sunbathing, here are some other activities to do in the water:
Kayaking and Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUP)
There are so many wonderful locations to kayak or SUP in the Seattle area. Alki Beach, despite being ocean water, is calm near the shoreline, but more experienced paddlers can head to the Alki Lighthouse. Warren G. Magnuson Park is a family-friendly park on Northeast Lake Washington. Connecting Lake Washington to Lake Sammamish is the Sammamish River, a lazy-river type of experience, although it is 13 miles long, going through all sorts of nature and Marymoor’s dog park. Washington lakes, such as Rattlesnake, Pine and the ones already mentioned, are great for paddles, with many launch and rental locations, although participants should be wary of the boat commotion and wind patterns.
This activity is for the adrenaline-rush type of person and is not something to take lightly. There are five different classes of rapid, with one being the safest and five being the roughest. The Skykomish River, spanning 29 miles, offers all of these classes. A popular stretch for beginners is from Big Eddy to Sultan, which has classes between one and two. For anything class three and above, technical skills are required. Skagit River has an average rating of class three, although it does have scenic areas that require minimal effort in the upper section by the Goodell Creek Campground. Sauk River does not have calm zones and is for more advanced rafters. Places such as Triad River Tours, Alpine Adventures and other guide companies based by different rivers are there to lead tours on more advanced rapids.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Yes, there is snorkeling in Washington. While we are not a tropical and warm state, you can see plenty of sealife, shipwrecks and more, so long as you are in a wetsuit. The Edmonds Underwater Park has been a marine conservation area since 1970, with man-made reef structures for a vivacious ocean life. Day Island Wall in Tacoma is a premiere place to see wolf eels, although this location is for more advanced divers. The Blakely Rock Reef dive, which is accessible through a boat, is another great place to see wolf eels, as well as giant octopi. There are many places in Seattle to get dive certified, including Seattle Dive Tours, which has varying levels of certification.
One way to appreciate the great outdoors is to appreciate animals in their natural habitat. The Puget Sound is home to many sea creatures, including seals, otters and whales. In whale-watching tours, participants can see orcas, minke, humpback, gray whales and other wildlife. Island Adventures (Anacortes), San Juan Cruises (Bellingham) and San Juan Safaris (Friday Harbour) are all roughly two hours away. Puget Sound Express has locations in Edmonds, Port Angeles and Port Townsend, which has a discount. Lastly, the only one located in Seattle is the FRS Clipper.
There are many other activities such as sailing, water skiing, fishing and more where you can get involved in the outdoor waters. This month, try to get out into the water, but make sure to be safe.