Friday, December 3, 2010

Destination: McMicken Island

If you arrived here by searching for a chart, please see this page.

South Puget Sound - excerpted from chart 18448

The southern part of Puget sound has a very different feel than that portion north of the Tacoma Narrows (in the upper right of the chart above - click on the image for a full-sized version).  In the South Sound, the waterways are narrower, the boat traffic seems smaller, and wonderfully, the water is warmer.  You will actually see boats pulling water skiers in the South Sound.  In fact, the water is warm enough for oysters to grow.

Which brings us, in a way, to McMicken Island.  McMicken Island State Marine Park lies a little less than half way up Case Inlet, close on its western shore.  If you are coming from above the Narrows, you will want to time your passage thru the Narrows to take advantage of the substantial ride you will get from the tidal current.  In fact, the tidal ride will carry you well past the southern tip of Fox Island.  There are tide rips here, where the flow divides into a stream running up into Carr Inlet and one which continues South to the Nisqually Reach.  Tho it is always best to have the tide in your favor, it won't be all that much help to you once you round the southern tip of Anderson Island.

(soundings in fathoms)
The best anchorage at McMicken Island lies between the Island and the shore of Harstine Island, but do not try to reach the anchorage from the South.  There is a tombolo connecting the island to Harstine which drys at low tide.  Approach the little lagoon from the North.  The chart shows two state park buoys in the lagoon, but the last time we were there, there were at least 4.  You should survey the area while watching your depth sounder tho - the buoys were in pretty shallow water.   Depending on where the State Park has placed the buoys, we usually chose to anchor instead.  When the tide comes in, the tombolo is submerged, but the water over it is thin enough to damp the wave action, should there be any coming up from the South.

McMicken Island, looking East
The island itself is a delightful quiet little place; for us the most enjoyable part is walking in the shallows and looking for oysters (check the WADFW site for red tide warnings before harvesting).  Whether or not you find any of eating size, the walk along the shoreline is a wonderful passtime.  Be sure to tie your dinghy well - one time here ours drifted away on the incoming tide and I had to swim for it.

Looking  South, over the tombolo at low tide


1 comment:

Mike said...

"Tombolo" is a new word for me. I had to look that one up.

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