Overview of Fort Worden Reef

Fort Worden Reef

Fort Worden Reef
USA West


Site Review by
 Edward J. Palumbo
Date: 11/11/2004


Site Condition
(1=worst, 5=best)

Name:  Edward J. Palumbo Entry:    5.00
Email:   Click Here Bottom:    4.00
City:   Tualatin Reef:    3.00
State:   Oregon Animal:    4.00
Country:   USA Plant:    4.00
Diving:   17 years Facilities:    5.00
 Dives:   200 Solitude   4.00
    Roads:    5.00


*Average:    4.08
This site provides easy entry and egress from the moderately sloped beach or the boat ramp of the Marine Science Center. The current is a consideration, so check the tide tables (found in the local phone book). A dive kayak is unnecessary, but it's a fine paddling opportunity as well. Water temperatures during my mid-week, late July visits were 52-53 degrees F. Viz was 25+ feet. Bottom life was healthy, with basket stars, decorator crabs, kelp crabs and sea cucumbers in abundance, with a lemon nudibranch on seaweed-covered rock. I was briefly investigated by a seal, which then moved purposefully toward the anemone-covered pilings of the Science Center, where I later observed her with a seal pup. Timing (and a north-to-south current) did not favor a second entry from the same position on the beach, so I moved 220-250 yds further north, entered and drifted back toward the MSC. The reef appeared to be healthy and relatively undisturbed at a depth of 27 fsw. I'm convinced this would be an interesting night dive. Drifting further south, I took the time to slowly explore the pilings at the science center, which was a great photo opportunity. Parking was free (unusual for a state park), and there were restrooms and a snack shop nearby. Air refills and last-minute accessories are available at the Port Townsend Dive Shop. The area offers shopping, restaurants and lodging for every wallet. For those who plan well in advance, very affordable lodging is available at Fort Worden, a former US Army artillery installation that guarded the entrance of the Puget Sound, now administered by the State of Washington with a year-round reservation system for camping and indoor lodging (www.olympus.net/ftworden). I hope to return to Port Townsend and Fort Worden to check on the progress of the reef and explore another site not far away. I brought a dive kayak with me, and the boat ramp simplified launch and return to the parking area, but kayaks are available for rent in Port Townsend, a short distance away. I recommend the area for divers with nondiving spouses or youngsters, because there's something for all family members to enjoy and it's a fine weekend escape, but the area is popular and hotels & motels fill quickly, so plan ahead.    

Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:    4.00
Beginner:    3.00
Intermediate:    4.00
Advanced:    4.00
Night diving:    5.00

Seasonal Information

Season:    Summer
Year:    2004
Visibility:    4.00
Current:    3.00
Surf:    5.00

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