Skip to content

Deception Pass and Fidalgo Island/Bowman Bay

Late this afternoon (after we finished a TON of work) we headed north to check out Deception Pass State Park. Again today, the weather was perfect. This is a lovely state park. Campsites are wooded and large. There's a lake (Cranberry Lake, good for kayaking and fishing, no motorized boats — electric okay) and nearby access to West Beach:


This is Cranberry Lake (totally mellow lake):


We headed back to the main road and crossed the bridge at Deception Pass, parked, and got out and wandered around a bit. Gorgeous.


We were down on this beach (North Beach) collecting more rocks to stick in the rock polisher when we're home next. (View from the Deception Pass Bridge):


View of the Deception Pass bridge from North Beach:


I loved this rock, but it was too big for the rock polisher (At least Kevin said it was — I wasn't totally certain). I opted just to take a photo of it and then threw it back. But now, as I'm posting this, I'm wishing I still had that dang rock. Call me Lucy. It's fine. Just look how cool those lines are…how they meet up and then don't meet up, interrupted by some dramatic geological event. Why didn't I keep that rock??


Okay so anyway…see this little island in the photo below? That's Strawberry Island. It's just past the bridge as you're coming in from Puget Sound. To the right of that island is Ben Ure Island. Well, I've got a story to tell you about ol' Ben Ure. 


According to Wikipedia: 

In the waters of Deception Pass, just east of the present-day Deception Pass Bridge, is a small island known as Ben Ure Island. The island became infamous for its activity of smuggling illegal Chinese immigrants for local labor. Ure and his partner Lawrence "Pirate" Kelly were quite profitable at their smuggling business and played hide-and-seek with the United States Customs Department for years. Ure's own operation at Deception Pass in the late 1880s consisted of Ure and his Native-American wife. Local tradition has it that his wife would camp on the nearby Strawberry Island (which was visible from the open sea) and signal him with a fire on the island's summit to alert him to whether or not it was safe to bring his illegal cargo ashore. For transport, Ure would tie the illegal immigrants up in burlap bags so that if customs agents were to approach then he could easily toss the bags overboard. The tidal currents would carry the discarded immigrants' bodies to San Juan Island to the north and west of the pass and many ended up in what became known as Dead Man's Bay.

Not a cool guy. At all. And interesting that they chose the term "illegal Chinese immigrants" as a euphamism for "slaves."

Seaweed in the current, taken from the bridge:


Deception Island and Puget Sound, from the bridge:


Under the bridge:


We kept on heading north for a little bit thinking we'd turn around when it was convenient. I looked at the map and noted there was a bay pretty close called Bowman Bay and thought we could check it out and then turn around and head back. We thought we might take the Hobie out at Oak Harbor and sail around there and Penn Cove this evening on the way home. But when we got to Bowman Bay, it was so pretty and it looked like there was a little wind picking up so we opted to sail here.

Here's what we did:


It was gorgeous. We saw a handful of harbor seals, a dozen or so Dall's porpoises, a huge bald eagle, and several tufted puffins!!! So cool.




We stopped and picked up a few more mussels and some clams for dinner tonight. I cooked 'em the same way I did the mussels the other night, and served with a salad of fresh greens and halved sun gold tomatoes from Red Dog Farm.

Tomorrow we're headed back down to Langley (with the Airstream this time) to visit some friends (friends with chickens!!) before we head back to Lake Pleasant/Seattle for the weekend. I've got a shoot on Sunday, and we'll be heading home on Monday morning.