Sunday, September 9, 2012

Deception Pass

Yesterday my friend Peter asked me if I wanted to go to Deception Pass with him and my godkids while his wife Karen was taking a class. Although I suspected my charming company was not the ONLY reason he asked me, I was willing to help with the kid-herding. Lucky for me I was on 5-year-old duty, which is much easier than what he was on: 2.5-year-old duty. I actually got to do a little beach combing while not dragging the 5-year old out of the surf and making sure she did not wander too far away. And collecting her abandoned belongings along her trail, and attempting to keep her from removing all of her clothing. Well, at least until we got back to the car... And I must say, like a cat, she only hears her name when she wants to. Anyway I'd like to say no one fell in, but Finn actually did trip and part of him fell in, at least I can say no one was submerged. I guess that counts as a success. And I found some good rocks.

Most Washington beaches are pretty rocky, though Deception Pass has some bits of sand too. People who are not from around here are often surprised that our beaches don't fit their ideal of what a beach should be. And frankly the water is very cold, too. While I did play in it when I was a kid, you could not get me in there now (unless it was to rescue an errant child.)

Deception Pass was named by George Vancouver, one of the first Europeans to explore the area. He actually thought that Whidbey Island was a peninsula until he found the narrow pass - so he considered himself deceived. Vancouver described the pass thusly: "A very narrow and intricate channel, which, for a considerable distance, was not forty yards in width, and abounded with rocks above and beneath the surface of the water. These impediments, in addition to the great rapidity and irregularity of the tide, rendered the passage navigable only for boats or vessels of very small burthen."

The pass runs between Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands. Apparently one of the small islands in the area was used by smugglers in the 1880s. Then in the early 1900s there was a quarry in the area where convicted prisoners (including murderers of course) quarried rock under armed guard. Also the pass is known for its swift currents and small boats are advised to only approach it with caution - if at all. I've gone Kayaking near there and can confirm the warnings are all true!

Before the Europeans came, the area was the home of several Coastal Salish tribes. I did some research but could not determine what name they used for the pass - if anyone knows, please let me know! It's probably more interesting...

After yesterday, I was glad to have a quiet day of painting, untangling yarn, and knitting. The temperature is about 20 degrees cooler than yesterday, rain is on the way, and I've made some cocoa.

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