Pat Welle started Columbia Kayak Adventures in 2004 to introduce and promote sea kayaking to the Columbia Basin. Located in the Tri-Cities in southeastern Washington, we are a bit east of the sea; but that means we enjoy warmer and somewhat more predictable weather while we paddle the currents of the Columbia River, discover wildlife among nearby islands, or marvel at the beauty and contrast the White Bluffs of the Hanford Reach display across the river from the nuclear reservation.
Pat moved to Portland in the fall of 2009 to pursue a doctorate program. She also moved closer to paddling on the coast which has been drawing her interest for the past several years.
When she moved on, Chris and Dorothy Vowels purchased the business from Pat. Both have kayaked for several years but had gone astray from the sport for a while. In 2004 they took a class from Pat and got hooked again. Chris retired from the Richland Police Department in 2007 after 25+ years and began a new career as a trainer/inspector in the challenge/ropes course industry. When Pat decided to leave, the Vowels decided to continue what she had started. The business came with a dedicated kayaker (Rosie Mac Donald) who operates the store. It also came with a great group of guides and instructors who have the same goal, which is to continue to introduce and promote sea kayaking in this area.
Sea kayaking is a way almost anyone can enjoy being on the water, moving themselves, knowing that personal effort lets you see the hidden corners and wonders, or feel the power of the river. CKA’s mission is to give you the knowledge and skills to safely paddle, whether you just want to spend a quiet morning in the protected waters of the Yakima Delta, or spend a week camping from your boat, exploring the many miles of inland lakes.
Most of all, CKA is about having fun, while you’re learning a new skill or seeing new places. And the sea… well when we can get there, it’s great too!