Cruise Your Own Adventure
In the South Sound
South sound is a secret, loosely kept. Many boaters living in the densely populated regions of central Puget Sound seem to head north, as if by instinct, every time they leave the dock. During high summer season, it isn’t unusual to find the San Juan Islands slightly more crowded than some might prefer. At the same time, there will likely be room at most south sound marinas, unclaimed mooring buoys at south sound state parks, and plenty of room for sailors, power boaters, and paddlers to avoid frequent conflicts.
The south sound waters are the most inland reaches of our inland sea. Charts show a variety of narrow fjords and short passes oriented to nearly every point of the compass. During the spring and fall seasons when winds and weather can be “iffy” elsewhere, conditions are often more benign in the South Sound.
What’s there? More state parks than anywhere else (except the San Juans). An independent, pioneer spirit still prevails along shorelines where oystermen, loggers, fishermen, and farmers have wrested a hard won living from the landscape for generations. Many of the inlets dry to broad mudflats at low tide, and in places the sun-baked mudflats release enough heat into incoming waters to allow comfortable bathing.
The pace is slow, the scenery spectacular. Mt. Rainier seems to loom 30 times larger when viewed from south sound anchorages than on those rare occasions when it can be glimpsed from Seattle.
South Sound is where Washington Territory began. The oldest community in the state is Steilacoom, along the Tacoma Narrows. Olympia was a busy port and market town when Tacoma and Seattle where insignificant settlements considered of little consequence and doubtful future.
Cruise you own adventure in the South Sound. Take some tips from our suggested itinerary or design your own. When you return to home port, don’t be surprised if some veteran boater with years of experience on the water comments, “You went to the south sound? Really? What’s it like down there?”
South sound is a secret, loosely kept.