Bremerton is accessible by an hour long ferry ride from downtown Seattle. The ferry travels back and forth on a frequent basis and some people even live in Bremerton and commute to work in Seattle. Bremerton is also well known as the U.S. Navy Shipyard for Puget Sound and for many years seemed to be a favorite location to “mothball” old navy ships. That has changed in recent years and a new marina opened there this spring.
We decided to leave on Saturday morning and head to Bremerton for a short stay. Since it was relatively close to Seattle, we stopped on the way at Blake Island for a walk. Blake Island is entirely a state park, accessible only by small tour boat or private boat. There are several mooring buoys that small boats can use to tie up to, which avoids hassles that would be associated with putting out an anchor. This is also more environmentally friendly, since for each anchor that gets set on the mud bottom with the associated chain or rope, marine life on the bottom can be disturbed. Over the course of many years, this can be quite detrimental. Blake Island has some primitive campsites (i.e., no power or water), picnic areas, and several miles of hiking trails through wooded areas. We thought a walk on Blake Island would provide a nice excursion for Prince who had been limited to urban walks on a leash for a couple of weeks. We were fortunate to find a nice mooring buoy that was vacant and it didn’t take too long to off-load our dinghy and get its outboard motor running.
The trip to shore was relatively easy and we had a very nice 1.5 hour walk through the woodlands. However, when we returned to our dinghy, we found that the falling tide had left it about 20 feet from the waterline. Some nice young men who were camping on shore helped us move the dinghy closer to the waterline, but we were not able to get it in the water immediately without getting extremely wet feet (in very cold Puget Sound saltwater). So, knowing that the tide was almost at its lowest stage, we decided just to enjoy a relaxing break sitting on a large dead tree by the beach until the tide would again float our dinghy. Our wait was only about 1.5 hours. Unfortunately, we found that our attempts to refloat our dinghy had resulted in some damage to one of the pontoons that keep our commuter craft afloat. It wasn’t serious enough to prevent our return to the boat and within a short time we re-stowed our dinghy and continued on our way to Bremerton.
At Bremerton, we found some guest moorage easily (being a somewhat cloudy and cool Saturday) and soon we three were off to explore the environs of the small city. Unfortunately, the city is going through substantial waterfront road construction. This has severely limited car and foot traffic. In addition, the loss of many jobs from the navy shipyard has negatively impacted the local economy. Many downtown shops were empty and the streets were dusty and grimy. It seemed that the majority of pedestrians were either other boaters or people heading for the ferry terminal to catch a ride to Seattle.
We made the best of our stay in Bremerton and found the lovely Fountain Park near the ferry terminal and an excellent city park that had terrific grassy areas and large trees that provided an convenient escape for the squirrels who chastised Prince when he attempted to chase them. We also enjoyed a nice seafood dinner at Anthony’s restaurant which overlooked the harbor. Bremerton also had the requisite Starbucks coffee shop so we could get a hot coffee to enjoy during our early morning dog walk.
Based on the limited redeeming features of Bremerton, we limited our stay to just one night. After a simple Sunday breakfast, we untied our lines and made our way up the west side of Bainbridge Island.