Expecting less from Vaughn Bay
Vaughn Bay was something of a surprise. According to vague third-person reports, we expected this bay off Case Inlet in south Puget Sound to be filled with decrepit vessels on questionable moorings, surrounded by surly residents who exist to make you feel unwelcome.
The bay we found was nothing like that. It has a long sandy spit sheltering the bay and splendid views across Case Inlet to the Olympic Mountains which glow as the sun sets behind them.
There were two well-kept boats on permanent moorings, and one or two vacant mooring buoys, but lots of room in the bay for transient cruisers to anchor with generous swing room.
Most of the land around the bay is private, but the spit is public and a pleasant spot for children to explore and for pets to wander. As well, there are two boat launches, one each on the southern and northern shores, at road ends providing opportunities to take walks and provision.
Enter the bay cautiously and on a rising tide, especially if your vessel is deep-keeled. Just through the entrance, vessels must turn south to avoid drying shoals.
But don’t turn too quickly, because the shallows just east of the sand spit drop to about a foot at zero tide. At lower tides, take it slow and post a lookout on the bow if unsure.
Anchor (1) anywhere in the bay in 1.5-4 fathoms. We found good holding in mud.
The boat launch on the north shore is at the end of Hall Road. You can pull up a dinghy here, taking care not to block the ramp.
From here it is a pleasant two-mile walk — east along Hall Road which becomes Olson Drive as it crosses South Vaughn Road — to Key Center where is found a supermarket, hardware store and many restaurants and other shops.
A block south from the supermarket, just beyond the fire hall, is a public library with wifi.
We stayed a few days in Vaughn Bay, its serenity a good excuse to do some electrical tinkering. One morning a jet ski buzzed by, but otherwise all was quiet, and when venturing ashore we encountered only smiles from locals, not a surly one among them.
(Vaughn Bay is covered in Salish Sea Pilot’s Cruising Guide to Puget Sound.)