Meander: a winding path or course
There are still a few places in Puget Sound that we haven’t visited and one of our boating goals this summer is to see some of them. With the Canadian border closed, there are hoards of boaters in the popular places. Plus, there are a lot of people that are new to boating through the many boat rental programs and a high volume of boat sales. The San Juan Islands are very crowded as are the popular anchorages and marinas around central and northern Puget Sound. Locations new to us so far this summer are Quartermaster Harbor on Vashon Island and Port Gamble Bay on Hood Canal. With seven days ahead of us, we ventured out to a few more new places.
The Port of Kingston Marina is located just 12 miles north of Seattle. The ferry that runs between Edmonds and Kingston is a major route. I called ahead and reserved a transient slip that was waiting for our arrival.
With only one night in Kingston, we decided on take out for dinner and a walk around town. The halibut and chips were fantastic at The Ale House, and they also let us take a couple of cold beers to go with the dinner. The town is very walkable, although not very big, with nice parks and great water views. We relaxed on the flybridge after dinner and had a very calm night.
Filucy Bay is located in the South Sound, about 46 miles south of Kingston. The only way to the South Sound is through the Tacoma Narrows, a narrow waterway through which all of the water in and out of the South Sound flows. The current can run quite fast but it is not particularly hazardous. However, with Fiddler being a slow boat, it was necessary to time our arrival at the Tacoma Narrows when the current was flowing in our favor. I checked the tides and currents the previous night and realized it would be an early departure from Kingston.
We headed south again, passing by Seattle, around the east and south sides of Vashon Island, under the Tacoma Narrows bridge, and into the calm waters of the South Sound. We cruised by erie McNeil Island where a federal penitentiary was once located and is now used to house violent sex offenders. The public is not allowed to stop or even come within 100 yards of the shore, not that we would want to.
Filucy Bay is small and very protected. At its entrance is the Longbranch Marina. There is not much else around this rural area. The bay has several houses around it and a few moored boats. At the head of the bay, the shoreline becomes wooded and feels more remote. We anchored near the head of the bay, spent two nights, and really enjoyed the serenity. There was plenty of room to anchor among the relatively few number of boats compared to some of the more popular places near Seattle and in the San Juan Islands. I am surprised we have never been here before, but we will surely return.
Des Moines Marina
Heading back north through the Narrows, we had an overnight stay planned at the Des Moines City Marina, another new location to us. The marina is situated at the bottom of the hillside and the main town is on the top of the hill, a very long walk. There is one nice restaurant and a small cafe within a short walking distance and a big park and a public fishing pier adjacent to the marina. After docking and walking around the area, we decided one visit is enough. We did see a very pretty sunset.
So two out of the three new places were very nice and we will visit them again. We had two more nights out and returned to nearby Quartermaster Harbor for the first one. The harbor is really big and will hold a lot of boats. Even so, there were hardly any boats here. I think the lack of shore access and no nearby amenities keeps people away. But it is a lovely location to spend a night or two. We had a great grilled halibut and asparagus dinner and a calm night at anchor. In the morning we kayaked around a small part of the harbor before weighing anchor and heading to Gig Harbor for our final night.
Gig Harbor is one of my favorite anchorages. It has a vibrant energy with many paddle boarders, kayakers, a gondola just like in Venice, sail boat classes, and more. It’s fun just to sit outside and take it all in while enjoying a glass of wine. On shore are several very good restaurants, a distillery, the Gig Harbor history museum, and plenty of nautical (and other types) shops to keep you busy. There are several marinas and a public dock as well. Gig Harbor is always busy and for good reason. It was a nice place for the last night of our trip.
Heading back to Seattle we were treated to wonderful views of Mt Rainier and the Seattle skyline. There’s no place like it.