I first have to start off by dedicating this to my dad. Today which is groundhog’s day is his birthday. He would be 99 years old, and we miss him dearly. Most of all he loved his family dearly, and loved sailing as well. A lot of time I spent on the waters of Puget Sound has been with my dad and brothers. If you go back to November 2013 you can read more about my dad.
I would say that boating of all kinds is the biggest activity in Western Washington. The biggest body of water is Puget Sound; however, there is the San Juan Islands. The only way get to the San Juan Islands is by boat or ferry. In my early teens our family sailed up to Victoria, British Columbia and then to the San Juan Islands. It was an adventure for sure besides being very beautiful. Besides our immediate family it included my Uncle Bill and cousins. What I remember most besides the beauty of the Islands was how windy it was, and we went for quite the ride. It felt very much like being in the ocean.
When it comes to boating there are a lot of motor boats as well as sailboats and fishing boats. Places like Gig Harbor are Ok for small sailboats; however, out in Puget Sound you must have at least a twenty-five feet boat to feel safe. I really enjoyed sailing the small boats around Gig Harbor; however, you had to sometimes look out for gusts that let you really go. Of course, it was the really good times. The body of water around Tacoma is called Commencement Bay. A lot of times when you enter the mouth of Gig Harbor the wind dies down to almost nothing so you have to use a motor to get inside or wait around for a while. My dad did not really like motors so for several years we did not have one. Us kids thought it was embarrassing to ask for a motor boat to get into the mouth of the harbor. Finally after complaining for a while our dad got a motor. We told him he only needed to use it when the air was dead. Those were great experiences.
Right by Tacoma on Commencement Bay is Pt. Defiance. It is a great place to go for picnics and has a five mile trail you can either bike, run, or walk. There is a very good zoo there to take your children too. Anyway, you will find a lot of people out on small motor boats several hundred feet off Point Defiance fishing. I am not sure how successful they are catching fish but they are having a good time. When I was a teenager I would go fishing off of our dock in Gig Harbor. I mostly caught flounders and bull heads. The bull heads I would give to the cats to eat. I am sure they felt it as being a feast. The flounders my mother would cook for dinner. They were very good.
Also, on Commencement Bay there is Vashon Island where you can only get to by Ferry if you have a car or bike. It has several little harbors where you can spend the night if you go by boat.
Gig Harbor has several marinas so you can see a lot of boats both motor and sailboats. There are plenty of them of every size. Seattle has a lot of marinas as well along with many of the other cities around Puget Sound. A lot of cities have Yacht Clubs. My dad was Commodore for one year with the Gig Harbor Yacht Club. They have the Sailor of the Year named after my dad.
If you see a University of Washington football game on television you will see a lot of boats shown outside of Husky Stadium. I would say most stadiums around the country do not have boats around them.
So if you come to our area I recommend going out on a boat during your visit especially if you have never been going boating before.