Meet Captain Corey Feldon of Anderson Island

Captain Corey Feldon Anderson Island
Corey Feldon runs South Sound Sailing Tours giving visitors an open water, Puget Sound experience. Photo courtesy: South Sound Sailing Tours

Captain Corey Feldon is having a great time helping out his Anderson Island neighbors, teaching youth about boats and providing sailing charter visitors a Puget Sound experience. Feldon has stories to share about kayaking adventures, his sunken boat restoration and tales of ferrying stranded islanders in the middle of winter.

Olympia Orthopaedic Associates

Corey Feldon Crisscrosses the Globe and Lands in Puget Sound

Water has been thematic for Corey Feldon, having been born on the coast and kayaking rivers and lakes before moving back out west to Thurston County, where he attended River Ridge High School in Lacey and graduated from Capital High School in Olympia.

“I lived in the Midwest for a good chunk of my childhood and would come out here to Washington and visit my grandparents and my mom,” Feldon says. “We’d go to the beach, to the ocean or just down on the sound here. Then I’d go back to the Midwest, and I would always be wanting to come back out here. I just really felt like it was pulling me back to the West Coast.”

Feldon enlisted in the Navy and operated heavy equipment as a Seabee. Immediately after arriving in Guam, a Korean Air plane crashed into a mountain, spurring him into work on jungle road construction for disaster recovery. After Navy service, he returned to the Pacific Northwest, where he and his wife now have four children.

Captain Corey Feldon Anderson Island
Captain Corey Feldon is a licensed officiant and married this couple aboard his boat, Solution, in March of 2024. Photo credit: Val Oppenheim

Restoring a Sunken Boat from Boston Harbor and Dodging Lightning in the Tacoma Narrows

While bartending at The Westside Tavern in Olympia, Feldon’s co-worker asked him to look over his Craigslist post for selling his 1977 Chrysler C22 sailboat. It was fate, and Feldon was soon the new owner.

Not long after purchasing the boat, it sunk in Boston Harbor, but he knew he could fix it. Feldon trailered it out for repair, asked the boatyard questions, watched instructional videos, sanded, painted and fixed the fittings where water had leaked. He and his wife named the boat Tigon, and as Anderson Island residents, they commuted in it to the mainland. Once, they were surrounded by a feeding pod of orcas, turned off the engine, called in to work and explained an orca delay.

Shortly after restoring the Tigon, Feldon and his wife took some friends out for a sail. When it was time to stow the sails and head south, the battery was dead. The engine wouldn’t start, and the pull-start cord broke too, all just south of the Tacoma Narrows bridge on a 90-degree day with no wind.

“At about 8 or 9 o’clock at night, this black cloud formed over Tacoma and started shooting lightning out of it,” Feldon says. “I called the Coast Guard, and I said, ‘We’re about to be in the middle of a lightning storm, and we’re stuck. We’re not moving.’ He said, ‘Just don’t touch any of the rigging, and you’ll be fine.’”

They waited.

“I kept hearing this ‘buzz buzz,’ and I couldn’t figure out what it was,” Feldon says. “I looked up, and there were sparks shooting off the top of my mast. The boat was electrified while we were sitting on it. There was electricity in the air, and we were a conductor. It was just shooting sparks off the top of the mast, waiting for a bolt. Luckily, one never struck, and at about 10 o’clock, the wind picked up a little bit, and we were able to sail over to the Steilacoom dock.”

Captain Corey Feldon Anderson Island
When both Pierce County Steilacoom ferries were out of commission due to maintenance issues for two days in the winter of 2023, Corey Feldon transported over 500 Anderson Island residents, 60 dogs and even a few guinea pigs. Photo credit: Christen D’Arrigo

Serving the Community, Youth and Visitors of Anderson Island

In winter 2023, both Pierce County Ferry boats between Anderson Island and Steilacoom became unavailable due to maintenance issues, stranding people on each shore. Feldon offered rides using his 30-foot sailboat Solution, which he otherwise uses in his South Sound Sailing Tours business, and for two days, transported 517 passengers, 60 dogs and even guinea pigs.

“It was pouring rain on the one day, and it was cold. It was February, and I was just out there having the time of my life, just going back and forth,” Feldon says. “It never feels like work. It’s a blessing. I feel like I live a blessed life, being able to do what I do.”

Passengers brought groceries and pets, just trying to get home from work, and returning to the island from a European vacation in one instance. Islanders, whom Feldon describes as a community of givers, helped too and many brought diesel fuel for the boat.

“I owe so much to the island because I can have the idea, but without all the other people helping in one way or another, none of that is going to come to fruition,” Feldon says.

Captain Corey Feldon Anderson Island
Each Wednesday for a summer, Corey Feldon ran a youth sailing activity for Anderson Island Parks & Recreation. Photo courtesy: South Sound Sailing Tours

When approached by Anderson Island Parks & Recreation to create a summer youth activity, Feldon took the kids sailing. Each Wednesday, he and a volunteer took a different group out for the day, sailing to a park or harbor destination, allowing them to raise the sail, pull in the lines or steer. In a 2025 parks program, he will join others in teaching kids the basics of sailing in 12-foot byte boats on Lake Josephine.

Out on the water, working in the parks programs and helping neighbors, Feldon is enjoying the island life.