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USA: Washington: Hurricane Ridge, Kalaloch Beach, Lake Quinault, Long Beach, Marymere Waterfall, Port Angeles, Puget Sound, Ruby Beach, Seattle
Puget Sound, Washington, USA: Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
In 1792 George Vancouver gave the name "Puget's Sound" to the waters south of the Tacoma Narrows, in honour of Peter Puget, a Huguenot lieutenant accompanying him on the Vancouver Expedition. This name later came to be used for the waters north of Tacoma Narrows as well.
We used the ferry named Wenatchee to cross the Puget Sound to reach Bainbridge Island. A unique state-run ferry system, the Washington State Ferries, connects the larger islands to the Washington mainland, as well as both sides of the sound, allowing people and cars to move about the greater Puget Sound region.
Washington State Ferries is a passenger and automobile ferry service owned and operated by the Washington State Department of Transportation that serves communities on Puget Sound and in the San Juan Islands. It is the largest passenger and automobile ferry fleet in the United States and the third largest in the world by fleet size. The service is also the largest in the world based on the number of vehicles carried, having carried 11 million annually!
The crossing offered excellent views of the beautiful Seattle skyline. Thankfully, the sun was out.
Puget Sound is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, and part of the Salish Sea. It is a complex system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and one minor connection to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the open Pacific Ocean — Admiralty Inlet being the major connection and Deception Pass being the minor.
Flow through Deception Pass accounts for about 2% of the total tidal exchange between Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Puget Sound extends approximately 100 miles from Deception Pass in the north to Olympia, Washington in the south. Its average depth is 205 feet and its maximum depth, off Point Jefferson between Indianola and Kingston, is 930 feet. The depth of the main basin, between the southern tip of Whidbey Island and Tacoma, Washington, is approximately 600 feet.
Among the marine mammals species found in Puget Sound are harbor seals. And of course the orca whales which are famous throughout the Sound, and are a large tourist attraction. Although orca are sometimes seen in Puget Sound proper they are far more prevalent around the San Juan Islands north of Puget Sound.
Many fish species occur in Puget Sound. The various salmonid species, including salmon, trout, and char are particularly well-known and studied. Salmonid species of Puget Sound include chinook salmon, chum salmon, coho salmon, pink salmon, sockeye salmon, sea-run coastal cutthroat trout, steelhead, sea-run bull trout and Dolly Varden trout.
There are many seabird species of Puget Sound. Among these are grebes such as the Western Grebe; loons such as the common loon; auks such as the Pigeon Guillemot, Rhinoceros Auklet, Common Murre, and Marbled Murrelet; the Brant Goose; sea ducks such as the Long-tailed Duck, Harlequin Duck, and Surf Scoter; and cormorants such as the Double-crested Cormorant. Puget Sound is also home to a non-migratory and marine-oriented subspecies of Great Blue Herons and Bald Eagles.
After about 40 minutes of cruising we docked at Bainbridge.
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