Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Deception Pass, Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands

It seems as though we've traveled several hundred miles in the past few weeks, but in reality, we've not been far at all... as the crow flies.  We've literally made a circle around the largest part of Puget Sound.  The map below shows what I mean:

A. Point Hudson at Port Townsend, Washington - B. Port Angeles, Washington - C. Victoria, BC - D. Nanaimo, BC - E. Horseshoe Bay, Vancouver, BC - F. Whistler, BC - G. Ferndale, Washington - H. Whidbey Island, Washington
This map shows Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands connected by
 Deception Pass Bridge (A) a vertigo sufferers' nightmare.
Camano Island is accessible  by car from the mainland,
and only by ferry from Whidbey Island.
We are currently visiting Whidbey Island, the largest of a group of nine small islands. Whidbey lies between the Olympic Peninsula and the I-5 metro corridor of Washington and forms the northern boundary of Puget Sound. Whidbey Island is about 35 miles long -- it's width varies from 1.5 miles to 12 miles.

We're winding up a 10 day stay here at Deception Pass on the north end of Whidbey Island. We were here last year too, but only for a day -- no room in the campground.  We have, without a doubt, enjoyed some of the finest weather in the country during our visit this year. There's been sunshine almost everyday with temperatures  cool enough to require a sweatshirt.

Our campground is only about a mile from Deception Pass, a strait of violent water that separates Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands. Deception Pass connects Skagit Bay in Puget Sound, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Deception Pass Bridge from below on the Whidbey Island side.

The Deception Pass area was mapped and named on June 7, 1792 after George Vancouver  had mistakenly thought Whidbey Island was a peninsula. Two-lane Deception Pass Bridge, was completed in 1935. There are actually two bridges here: Deception Pass is the larger section, Canoe Pass is the smaller.  Some other Deception Pass Bridge facts:
  • Height from water to roadway: about 180 feet, depending on the tide
  • Roadway: two 11 foot lanes, one in each direction
  • Sidewalks: a 3 foot sidewalk on each side
  • Width of bridge deck: 28 feet
  • Total length: 1487 feet (more than a quarter mile)
  • Canoe Pass: one 350-ft arch and three concrete T-beam approach spans
  • Deception Pass: two 175-ft cantilever spans, one 200-ft suspended span, and four concrete T-beam approach spans
  • Vehicle crossings: 20,000 per day, average
  • Maximum speed of current in Deception Pass at flood/ebb tide: 9 kts
  • Maximum speed of current in Canoe Pass at flood/ebb tide: 10 kts
  • Completion of the bridge was a factor in the decision to build Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and helped Oak Harbor, Washington flourish.
  • The bridge is among the most photographed landmarks of the Puget Sound region
Deception Pass Bridge

This sailboat was quite large but from where I
took this picture (under the bridge), it appears tiny.
Deception Pass is a dramatic seascape where the tidal flow and whirlpools beneath the twin bridges connecting Fidalgo Island to Whidbey Island move quickly. During low tide, the swift current can lead to standing waves, large whirlpools, and roiling eddies. This swift current phenomenon can be viewed from the twin bridges' pedestrian walkways or from the trail leading below the larger south bridge from the parking lot on the Whidbey Island side. Boats can be seen waiting on either side of the pass for the current to stop or change direction before going through. Thrill-seeking kayakers go there during large tide changes to surf the standing waves and brave the class 2 and 3 rapid conditions.

Deception Pass

Skagit Bay harbor just south of Deception Pass not far from our campground.

Coupeville is about midway down Whidbey Island.  It's a quaint little town that looks much the same way it did way back in the early 1900's.  We took a day trip there to take a look and eat lunch at Knead To Feed, a little cafe that is only open for breakfast and lunch.  Here's what we ate:
Oops, forgot to take the picture 'till it was too late!


The Wayner enjoyed his chowder too, just not as fast as I enjoyed mine.  Because we arrived late and got the last bit of clam chowder, our bowls were not filled to the brim and as a result... we got a discount.  I'd rather have the whole bowl of chowder than the discount! 

Coupeville is located in the heart of Ebey's Landing National Historic Preserve and still reflects the character of a seafaring town of a time long past.
Coupeville is on the shore of Penn Cove. Several eateries and bars overlook the cove.
The day was overcast, damp and a little cool.
The air smelled of fish to me and I would not enjoy eating outside at low tide. UGh.
After lunch we strolled the streets, poking our heads into antique shops, bars and nautical junk stores. It didn't take long to find Kapaws IsKreme store where we enjoyed a double scoop.
His Mission:  ice cream.

Ice cream store found.
What flavor?

Another day we traveled north across Deception Pass to Fidalgo Island and the City of Anacortes, a town adored by many but I found to be only mildly interesting.  The best view on Fidalgo Island was from atop Cap Sante on the northern part of the island.
Fidalgo Island was home to Walla Walla State Penitentiary in the early 1900's where prisoners cut rock into gravel and loaded it onto barges to be taken to Seattle. Remains of the prison can still be found but the area is dangerously located on the edge of a steep cliff where many have met their death venturing out too far.
Typical view from Cap Sante.

That's the city of Anacortes behind me.

Always with those binoculars in hand.
On this afternoon we stopped at a little roadside place on our way back to the campground. It's called Sweet D's Shrimp Shack. It was here we found the best fish and chips yet. 
The blurred image is surely a result of a very hungry photographer.  
Hope you enjoyed the "eats" with us here on Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands. 

No comments:

Post a Comment