We took our annual cruise to the South Puget Sound this year in Sept. This is a great time to cruise as you miss all of the summer tourists, there is plenty of mooring and docking space available at the marinas, and the weather is not as hot as it is in August and not as cold as October. Our first stop was Bremerton where we viewed the navy ships and stopped for a light lunch at Fraiche Cup, just up the stairs from the marina office and across from Starbucks. There was no charge for the moorage since we stayed only a short time. Not all marinas are this accommodating.
We shoved off after lunch bound for a tour of Blake Island and the cargo ships anchored nearby. We arrived at Gig Harbor in time for supper and tied up at the Tide Taverns' dock. Since children are not allowed within Tides Tavern, we ordered online and ate our Fish and Chips on the flybridge as the sun went down. The sunset was spectacular, was great family time, and of course the fish and chips were tasty as usual. We carefully navigated our way between the anchored yachts on our way to the Waterfront Inn at the Northwest end of the harbor. It was dark by this time so we used the handy searchlight on the flybridge to guide us along.
We rafted up at their dock since we had two boats and walked a short ways up the dock, across the lawn, and up the stairs to the rooms (pack lightly). If you have a large group, I recommend booking the Captain Quarters room which consists of two separate suites (Lookout and Wheelhouse) connected to a common living/dining area. This is a very nice area to gather and let the kids play in. If you are a couple, we recommend the Admirals suite which has a beautiful view of the harbor. It is a little confusing on the website since this room is actually called the "Waterfront King Penthouse Suite" when you book the rooms.
We had breakfast at the Devoted Kiss café, just a three minute walk down N. Harborview Drive. The breakfast burrito, Belgian Waffle and Smoked Salmon Bagel are all very good and recommended.
We left Gig Harbor for a day trip through the Tacoma Narrows Strait, up the North side of Fox Island and directly across Carr Inlet to Penrose Point St. Park (https://www.parks.state.wa.us/564/Penrose-Point). The main channel is about 15-20 ft. deep at low tide so be careful when entering and do not stray from the center of the channel. Below is a photo of Clifford docked at the Penrose Point dock. There is room for about 10 small boats at the dock.
If the dock is full, there are 8-10 mooring buoys on either side of the Penrose Point sand bar.
We headed back to gig harbor traversing under the Tacoma Narrows bridge again. Bring up a page on the chartplotter that has a fishfinder display you will be able to see the debris on the sonar image from the original bridge that collapsed as you pass under the new one. The wreckage provides a artificial reef for abundant marine life and by legend, the largest Pacific Octopus in the world.
Approaching the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Crossing under the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
We made our way back to Gig Harbor for a second night at the Waterfront Inn. Passage through the harbor was much easier in the daylight!
Passing through Gig Harbor, approaching the Waterfront Inn.
The next day we left Gig Harbor and traversed up the East side of Vashon Island and back to Shilshole Marina. We saw plenty of seals and Dolphins along the way but no Orcas. This was a very nice three day trip and the next time we would like to go further South yet.