Where to rent kayaks, paddle boards and bikes in West Seattle

Being located on the Puget Sound, there are plenty of scenic activities available for your enjoyment while staying at Beach Drive Bungalow. Here are a few places that offer rentals and tours:

Alki Kayak Tours with rentals for kayaks, stand up paddle boards, inline skates, bikes and skateboards (long boards). West Seattle Location: 1660 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126 • (206) 953-0237 | tours@kayakalki.com

Be sure to grab a bite at Marination Ma Kai, located next door to Alki Kayak Tours.

Mountain to Sound Outfitters has kayaks, stand up paddle boards and skateboards for rent during the summer at 55th and Alki Avenue.  Monday-Sunday | 12:00pm – 6:00pm.  Weather Dependent, Call 206-935-7669.

Wheel Fun Rentals offers various types of bikes and surreys for rentals at 2530 Alki Avenue SW.

Alki Bike and Board has various types of bikes for rent. (I’m checking with them and will update this post once I find out if they rent on somewhere on Alki or if you have to go to their North Admiral location on California).

PS: Although Beach Drive Bungalow is waterfront and located on Puget Sound, it does not have beach access due to the seawall/bulkhead. The Bungalow is located a couple blocks away from public parks with access to the sound.

 

 


The “back yard” of the Bungalow.

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Scope it out…what you can’t see

Unless you have a full tank of air and scuba gear, you’d miss out on one of the best dive sites and Ling Cod fisheries in the Seattle area. The Alki Rock Pile is located just a couple hundred yards west/southwest off the seawall. An orange buoy marks the deepest end of a carefully designed underwater debris field used to house several different species of Puget Sound bottom fish. Architects of the reef describe how it was built…

“A total of 181,400 metric tons of quarry rock was used to construct fourteen 41 m· 15 m· 6 m (high) reef structures in a 2.83 ha area during May 1987. This design of a 1:2 ratio of reef material: sand bottom also accommodated the trophic level relationships normally occurring for fishes feeding from reef structures and surrounding natural habitats.”

Although resident sea lions have had their fill the last couple of years, fisherman still swarm the reef on May 1st for the limited Ling Cod season. Divers get their shot on the 3rd week of May with increased odds…

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Divers haul their speared catch up to Beach Drive via Emma Schmitz Park.

The Alki Rock Pile is now used worldwide as a reference point for designing & building artificial reefs.

Wondering where all those ships passing by are headed or where they’ve come from? All those answers plus much, much more are waiting for you on MarineTraffic.Com. You can also download their app for any of your smart devises. The program uses AIS transmitting which nearly all commercial vessels are required to operate while under way.

Just simply click on the real time chart of ships/boats under way and a plethora of info about the vessel pops up. I use an AIS receiver in combination with radar on board s/v Pointless when I’m running in the fog or at night.

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Puget Sound is the home to a couple of marine giants. The Giant Pacific Octopus is the world’s largest invertebrate with the largest known rumored to be 600 pounds with an arm span of about 30 feet. Their copper based blue blood is pumped by 3 hearts! Maybe that’s why they like to “hug” so much.

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4th through 111th place divers may still be somewhere down in Davy Jone’s Locker near Tacoma WA. 😉

The other world record holder is known as the Sunflower Seastar. Amongst to largest and heaviest in the 7 seas, these stars commonly grow between 2 to 3 feet in diameter and are the 2nd fastest movers of all the seastar species. They are veracious eaters and will often try to eat the bait in our crab pots. It’s depressing when you start to pull the pot thinking it’s full of sweet Dungeness and come to find out it’s one of these big mothers draped over your pot!

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Nearly all west coast sea stars of all types were wiped out in 2013-14 via the mysterious Sea Star Wasting Disease. Many areas from Baja to Alaska are seeing a healthy recovery so we’re all keeping our fingers crossed.

 

If you were to swim, paddle or sail less than a half mile straight out from the sea wall and gander to the south, you’d catch a booming view of the undisputed king of the Cascade mountain range, Mt. Rainier…

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The Alki Yacht Club or AYC was founded in March 2016 by yours truly. The bungalow’s lower floor doubles as the club house although I’ve yet to have a meeting or function there. The club originated when my brother (lives on Maury Island) wanted to have a planning meeting with some sailing buddies and I for a trip around Vancouver Island. Our house seemed like the logical place to have it so he joked “let’s meet at the AYC to plan & watch the Seahawks game”. I figured there must’ve been an Alki Yacht Club at some point in history given that Alki was the birth place of Seattle but found nothing in google and snapped up the URL on GoDaddy. The logo was designed by a artist buddy and Rhonda laid it out with pennies on the downstairs bathroom floor! We have about a dozen members and an official cocktail but that’s about it.

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Scope it out… west

Looking straight out from the bungalow’s seawall,  the majestic backdrop of the Olympic Mountain range dominates the view to the west. The Olympics dictate the weather patterns for the entire region. The Pacific Ocean side of the range features rain forests that garner 200+ inches of avg annual rain. Then onto the north east side of the range where a rain shadow effect only allows 16 to 20″ of rainfall.

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The Olympic range looks more spectacular than the actual elevation would suggest. The highest mountain is Mt Olympus (not visible from Seattle) which is just a hair under 8000 feet. It’s the steep slopes that give the range world class ruggedness.

The most prominent peaks viewed at the seawall are from left to right… Mt. Ellinor, Washington, Stone, The Brothers (double peak) and finally Mt Constance being the highest in view at 7,756′.

The small settlement of Rochester can be seen just south of where the WA State ferries make their way out of site through Rich Passage. The town of around 5000 people enjoy great views of the Seattle skyline, Mt Rainier to the southeast, a close up view of the west side of Blake Island & of course, us.

Once the main dock was built in 1908, Rochester was a regular stop for the historic Mosquito fleet steamers that once served most all of the cargo/passenger needs in Puget Sound. In 1925, a regular ferry route was established between West Seattle’s Alki & Rochester until the Alki terminal washed away in 1936. The run shifted to downtown Seattle until it was permanently discontinued in ’49.

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This photo courtesy of Trip Advisor, highlights Manchester’s view of Blake Island, distant Seattle skyline and the dock that yours truly uses to tie up on when waiting for the crab pots to fill. They have a great bar about a block up to enjoy your favorite beverage!

Blake is the small island looking straight across. The entire island was designated a State Marine Park back in 1959. Prior to that, it is rumored that Chief Sealth of the Suquamish tribe was born on the island back around 1783. The city of Seattle was eventually named after the peace keeping chief. The island was renamed Trimble Island back in the early 1900’s when a Seattle millionaire with same name purchased it. The Trimble’s lived in their island mansion until the late 20’s & eventually sold it to investors in ’36.

The island was said to be used extensively by bootleggers back in the prohibition years. Whiskey from Canada would make it’s way down the sound where the island could be used to hide out. Long time West Seattle residents tell stories of a resident bootlegger that squatted on the island to make hootch.

 

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More recently, Blake Island was used by President Bill Clinton as the site for the first APEC meeting. Argosy Cruises conducts scheduled runs to the island out of the Seattle waterfront typically starting mid April through late September. A native Indian longhouse hosts a traditional salmon bake and dance performances. I personally enjoy hiking the island with my dog and watching the deer grazing out in front of the small marina. It’s a true utopian gem set in the middle of large populations.

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Tillicum Village and the marina breakwater can be seen from the seawall with help of the binoculars.

Coming soon… south

Nearby Grocery Stores

There are several grocery stores that you can choose from in West Seattle.

Probably the one that frequent the most is Metropolitan Market. It’s a beautiful store with higher end products and does tend to be more expensive than other grocery stores in West Seattle. It’s not unusual to see a bus parked outside packing tourist, typically from Asia, to check out the store! If you like cheese, wine or want to grab a meal to go, check out Metropolitan Market.

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Metropolitan Market is located at 2320 42nd Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116 off of Admrial Way. It is about 2.5 miles away from the bungalow.

There is a Safeway Grocery Store located across the street from Metropolitan Market. It’s literally on the other side of Admiral Way. This is a newer and larger Safeway and is also pretty nice. It is also 2.5 miles away from the bungalow and is located at 2622 California Ave SW, Seattle.

There is another Safeway located at “Jefferson Square” which is older (and not as nice, in my opinion) as the one on California.

West Seattle Thriftway is located at 4201 SW Morgan Street, Seattle. This store is located in the “Morgan Junction” south down California Street. I’ll admit, I shop here a lot too!  They have a good selection of meats, cheeses and wine and fresh produce.

PCC is an organic grocery store located at 2749 California Ave. S.W., Seattle. They now offer free delivery when you use your Amazon Prime account.

Trader Joes has many of their own brands, typically at a discount and with a fun spirit. 4545 Fauntleroy Way SW, Seattle.

West Seattle Produce is an open market offering an assortment of fresh produce. They’re across the way from Trader Joes, located at 4722 Faunterloy Way SW, Seattle.

Specialty shops…

Seattle Fish Company offers the freshest fish in West Seattle and offer a selection of wines. Seattle Fish Company is also a restaurant with fantastic fish and chips.  Seattle Fish Company is located at 4435 California Ave SW, Seattle.

The Swinery is a butcher AND offers incredible salami’s and  sandwiches too. Located at 3207 California Ave SW, Seattle.

Last but not least…

West Seattle Farmers Market every Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm, the West Seattle Farmers Market takes over a section of California Avenue. I recommend checking out the market and all the vendors have to offer. Many of the restaurants along California are open for Brunch.  We’ll have to do a post about great brunch spots in West Seattle in the near future!