Trip Report    

Sea Kayak - Commencement Bay

Paddled round trip from Owen Beach to Thea Foss waterway along the south shore of Commencement Bay.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Weather is always a factor on puget sound. This trip does not cross major shipping lanes but does cross the Vashon Ferry path near shore, however it's wide open so easy to time your paddle. Closer to Thea Foss we encountered docked military ships and one cargo ship docked on the Tacoma side, which paddlers should give at least 100 yards of space.

The trip was planned as an out and back from Owen Beach to Thea Foss waterway. The marine forecast was for stiff winds in puget sound up to 20 knots, however all other local weather predictions were for winds less than 8 knot. The trip was effectively windless, with only the slightest breeze as we left Thea Foss for about 30 minutes. Total length as measured by GPS was about 14 statute miles. Total time, launch to take out, was 6 hours and 15 minutes. 

Seven paddlers, including the leader launched about 10:15AM. It took approximately 2 hours to get to the mouth of the Thea Foss, where we had lunch at the Rock the Dock pub. The pub has easy dock landing suitable for kayaks, as long as paddlers are comfortable taking out on docks that rise 18" above water. The pub staff were welcoming, and they had few customers. 

After lunch, which took about an hour, we paddled to the 6th Street bridge, paddling between the boats and shore one way, and in the main channel on the return. 

The route is a mix of urban-industrial-marine-recreation along the shore. There is a pathway, road, and train tracks right next to shore. There were at least three parks along the trip where a person could take out. We used the one just around the corner from the Ruston Marina, Ferry Dock and Owen Beach- about 2 miles by water around the point. The trip itself takes one past the old Asarco copper smelter site, an EPA superfund site that is being redeveloped into an urban living and recreation area.

The shoreline is also made interesting by old pilings and docks that you can paddle around and through. We spotted plenty of bird life seals, and a couple sea lions. 

I would consider this a must do trip for anyone who paddles in Puget Sound.