Kayaking around Washburn Island is always a nice trip for us. There is a public boat launch right off of Route 28 in East Falmouth (Waquoit) by Edward's boat house. A day around the island can be extended by camping on the island itself, granted you have a reservation. The island is only accessible by boat.
Let us start out by saying this is a dangerous sport. You will likely drown. You must wear a life jacket. That is still no guarantee.
The recreational loop that we did was in the rental kayaks from the rental shop at the boatyard. We have rented several times and invited friends to do the same. We like to come down the Child's River and turn a sharp left around Seapit to get into the bay. Staying tight to the island, there is a post for an osprey nest. We have seen the bird before, but if you miss her, there are others at the Research reservation on route 28 between the boatyard and Mashpee Commons.
One on the other side of Washburn Island, there is a bit of a sand bar. At low tide you will have very shallow water in that area. Low tide is not always the best time for this part of the trip.
Beyond the sandbar is an inlet with a small pond that is peaceful to visit. Be careful of the grasses on either side as this is a preserve. This pond is a neat place to watch the bottom to see crabs scurry around.
Further along the island before it curves out to the jetty there is another pond with little paths between the grasses. At low tide this does not really exist, but when the water rises, this is a great place to paddle. Please don't break though the grasses and stay on the open paths to prevent damage to the protected area.
Someone adventurous might want to continue along the island past the jetty and up the other side of the bay. I am too chicken to go past the strong current at the jetty. Avoiding this could very well be the reason I sit here writing today. I am not a strong paddler.
Sea Kayak loop
Sea kayaking is horrendously dangerous. You should not attempt this loop with an open cockpit kayak. Let's face it. You should not attempt anything we talk about here, or you could die.
This is one that we have attempted more than we have actually kayaked. The loop takes us about 3 hours which allows goofing off time on the island and (for me) getting up the guts to go out the jetty. If you travel straight down the Child's River with the island to your left and enter the ocean, the first sight you might recognize is Martha's Vineyard. The part that always gets me is then seeing the gap of land between my land and the Vineyard. Just open ocean and open sky.
Paddling along the edge of the island has its obstacles. Three rows of sharp rock can be identified if birds are sitting on them, or if a boat has accidentally made contact with them during its final moments afloat. This happened recently. The importance of obtaining an accurate map and knowing how to read it is notably important. You were not going to use that thing I drew to the side were you?
Along the shore (we traveled during low tide) is shallow and pebbles for the first part, and becomes more sandy for the second part. We beached near the second jetty and decided to beach and picnic. We walked over to the jetty and saw the strong flow leaving the bay. No way was I going to paddle against that. And the big boats coming the other way? Nope. Glad we bought fiberglass. There is a path between the rose bushes where we were able to carry the boats over into the bay side. Call me a cheater, I don't care. We had a great day.
Being that the tide was low, the pond that you can paddle into on the bay side was only sand and grass so we had to miss that part of the plan. We are not sure if we can get the boats in that or not anyway as both are over 17'. Hopefully some day we can check that out again.
Camping on Washburn Island
Camping is by permit only. Please contact the preserve for information (http://www.waquoitbayreserve.org/camping.shtml)
This is easy to get to as it is right on Route 28 only a few miles from the Mashpee Commons Rotary (intersection of 151 and 28) in the direction of Falmouth and Woodshole (not Hyannis). If you are coming in the opposite direction, it is very soon after Mahoney's Garden Center. it is hard to miss Edward's Boat Yard. It is hard to miss Edward's Boat Yard. Here there *used* to be a kayak rental place, but there is still a place to put your boats, canoes and kayaks in, and a parking lot for your cars and trailers. This is very easy. At the time that we are writing this, you can put in at the public ramp (White's Landing) next to Edward's Boat Yard and park at the dirt lot next to it without a sticker.
Other Routes from the Same Launch Point
From the same launching point at Edwards Boatyear, you can also try the route that includes the ocean around Seacoast Shores and the easier part of Child's River