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Old 03-18-2015, 07:16 PM   #1
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South Puget Sound

Most PNW cruisers, including us, typically head north to the San Juans and beyond. Last week we headed south under the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to explore the South Sound. This area is more protected from winds and, despite small craft advisories in Puget Sound, the waters were relatively calm. We stopped at the Longbranch Marina first and were the only transient boat. In fact there was only one other person and two dogs in this small marina. We self registered and enjoyed the quiet evening. Then we went to Olympia for two nights, took the tour of the state capitol building, and walked around town. Then on to Jarrell Cove State Marine Park for two nights. We got a spot on the dock as it was wide open this time of year. Not one boat was on a buoy and there are about a dozen of them. Then to Tacoma to wait out a passing storm before going back to Seattle. We both really enjoyed the serenity and rural feeling of the South Sound and will be returning for more exploring in the future.
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Old 03-18-2015, 07:30 PM   #2
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Most PNW cruisers, including us, typically head north to the San Juans and beyond. Last week we headed south under the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to explore the South Sound.
I've often wondered what the South Sound has to offer. It looks like it was well worth the trip. It seems that almost everyone goes north!
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Old 03-18-2015, 07:49 PM   #3
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drb that's exactly were we plan to go when we finish fitting out Willy.

The Willard rendezvous is May 8-10 and after that we should be out and about. I plan to anchor in Quartermaster Hbr, go up Hammersley Channel to Shelton, Little Skookum Inlet and several other places. Looking fwd to it.
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:46 PM   #4
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Nice trip report, thanks for that

Funny you mention Shelton Eric as it has made it to our shortlist of places to look for a retirement shack.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:12 PM   #5
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When we eventually make the trip around the coast we definitely want to do the south sound. We'll make that the last 2-3 weeks of the all-summer-long cruise. Beautiful country exists all over the sound and we're anxious to go.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:59 PM   #6
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Most PNW cruisers, including us, typically head north to the San Juans and beyond.
For us the choice is based on development and topography. We've explored the south sound a fair amount in the floatplane over the years and while the south sound definitely has a nice, gentle, benign atmosphere about it, we find it too developed for our taste and the topography a bit too non-existant.

Anyway, both engines in our boat automatically shut down if we try to take it south of Anacortes so that pretty much eliminates that area from our cruising wish list.

But it's worth checking out if one has never been there at all.
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:19 AM   #7
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WE head south at least a couple of times each year. We stop in Gig Harbor, nice little town, some good food. We get to Tacoma for the Glass Museum and the Zoo/Aquarium. As was noted, a lot of the area is pretty rural, with some great anchorages. It is a nice change from the Sound from Seattle north. Another area we go when we only have a day or so, not really south but west of Seattle is over to Liberty Bay and Poulsbo. Nice Norwegian themed town, nice city marina with a waterfront park and usually things happening every weekend during the summer. Makes for a nice, close getaway.
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Old 03-19-2015, 04:56 AM   #8
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Despite the urban and industrial development, one can often/easily find niches of pastoral life in the SF Bay Area, such as this dog protecting its sheep flock along the Petaluma River (a slough):





Undoubtedly, similar pleasant scenes can be found in southern Puget Sound.
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:36 AM   #9
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Mark that picture looks almost like it could have been taken in Ireland. Looks like a great place for hang gliding but prolly too many fences and T poles.

Marin your picture of rocks certainly is not South Sound. Very nice pic though. Can't say I don't wanna go back there either. As to development the South Sound could well be less developed than your San Juan Is. More like the pic above and less like Friday Hbr.
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:38 AM   #10
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A friend of ours stayed a winter at Swan Town in Olympia. They spent the winter checking things out and stated they never knew how nice it was. South sound is on our list of things to see.

Marin, you can go with us and we will blindfold you boat so she won't know she is south!
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:53 AM   #11
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DRB
The South Sound can become very busy in the "cruising season." Early Spring is a great non busy time to get out and explore these areas especially if you have diesel heat and a rainproof seaworthy craft.

Similar to Marin's engine difficulties, our diesel filter vacuum gauges start climbing when we go South of say Turn Point.
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:43 PM   #12
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If we keep posting about the South Sound it will get too crowded mums the word. Is not Shelton a long way up a very narrow channel? That of course may be its appeal.
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Old 03-19-2015, 04:02 PM   #13
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And shallow...

Chart 18457
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:24 PM   #14
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T poles.

Marin your picture of rocks certainly is not South Sound. Very nice pic though. Can't say I don't wanna go back there either. As to development the South Sound could well be less developed than your San Juan Is. More like the pic above and less like Friday Hbr.
Eric-- You're correct. My photo is not from south Sound. It's a illustration of the terrain we prefer and why we find the south Sound very boring in terms of scenery.

The San Juans are way overdeveloped, too, in our opinions. Which is why the places we go there are mostly private access and not open to the general public. By our standards things don't start getting really nice until one is up into BC.
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:46 PM   #15
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dhmeissner,
I concur .. must stay aware but Hammersley Channel is a walk in the park compared to Rocky Pass in SE AK. With GPS and two sounders should be able to come and go at low water. Willy's draft is 3.5'.


Marin'
On Prince of Wales Is due to the ever present cabin fever people would say "gotta get off the rock". And if one is observant one will notice that most everywhere in SE there isn't much on top of the rock .. bedrock that is. So calling POW a rock may be somewhat of a joke but in reality it's 999% pure fact. It's almost still a little strange living down here where you can actually dig down into the ground. The "rock" gets old after quite awhile so now South Sound seems very friendly and I won't expect to find any bedrock. And really easy anchoring except for making sure there's water everywhere in our swinging area and not mentioning other boats. At least we won't be 10' up in the air on top of a very big pointed rock that may or may not have penetrated the hull. And your boat may or may not ... fall over.
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Old 03-20-2015, 02:38 AM   #16
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Avoid south sound at all costs. Reports of pirates off Devil's Head are circulating. Ok, just trying to keep it all to myself. It is quiet, uncrowded and rural with great scenery. Just don't tell anyone else.
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Old 03-20-2015, 01:00 PM   #17
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Craig wrote;
"Funny you mention Shelton Eric as it has made it to our shortlist of places to look for a retirement shack."

When we moved to Alaska that's where we started looking for a place to live. We coulda just stopped there as Sheldon isn't that much different that Thorne Bay.
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Old 03-20-2015, 02:36 PM   #18
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I think the slugs get bigger the closer you get to Olympia
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Old 03-20-2015, 06:16 PM   #19
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They are real small up here .. only 1 1/8" long.

So you're claim may be true.
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Old 03-20-2015, 10:13 PM   #20
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When our Camano was new, 2005, we were cruising the south Sound and decided to travel up Hammersley to Shelton. On an ebb tide. A very low ebb tide. We decided we needed to spend the night in Shelton after seeing less than 2 feet of water under the keel in places. Found a nice Mexican restaurant and had a peaceful night at the marina.
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