Gig Harbor

The Gig Harbor town dock

The Gig Harbor town dock

05-Feb-2006: After literally 40 days and 40 nights of incessant rain, the storms stop and the sun finally emerges. Hallelujah! Let’s go boating! We decide to circumnavigate Vashon Island, a huge land mass in the middle of the South Sound across from Des Moines, where our marina is located. It’s a 36 mile trip to ride around it. The days are growing longer and sunset is 5:15 PM and as we are always late starters, we’ve got 4 hours to make the journey. Off we go, heading Southwest along the shore of Maury Island. When we reach the Southern tip of Vashon Island and enter Dalco Pass, we decide to pay a visit to Gig Harbor. We slow down to negotiate our way around all the floating driftwood resulting from the storms and enter through the narrow, shallow channel into the harbor. We spot the town dock and moor there. There is something really cool about visiting a town via water. Of course, there was a point in time in Puget Sound history when that was pretty much the only way to travel due to the density of the forests and the scarce roads. As such, there used to be an extensive fleet of ferry boats that people used to get to the many little towns around Puget Sound. Click here to learn more about the “Mosquito Fleet” on HistoryLink.org, the online encyclopedia of Washington State history.

Off we go for a walk in Gig Harbor with Freya, our German Shepherd, but we don’t get far as we spot an espresso shop right across the street. We still have many miles to go so we drink our coffees and depart. Once we clear the harbor, we head North up the Colvos Passage which runs between Vashon Island and the Kitsap Peninsula. The tide is ebbing and this part of the Sound is always turbulent. The surface of the water is a mixture of currents, eddies, and whirlpools with entire trees floating amongst it all due to the recent storms. We slip safely through it and continue North. What looks so narrow on the nautical charts is a mile wide and 300 feet deep. This Northern Wisconsin boy is still struggling to grasp the scope, scale and power of Puget Sound. We’re only halfway up the Passage when we spot something at the North end of it, huge, white and moving. We get out the binoculars and it takes a sec but then we realize we’re seeing the Southworth ferry. It’s amazing how deceptive distances are on the water. We round the Northern end of Vashon and keep an eye on the two ferries docked at Vashon and another over at Fauntleroy on the mainland as we slip through the ferry route and head South for home and witness a lovely February sunset. — Scott Bruce Duncan */:-)

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