Cruising Whidbey Island

Stepping on to Whidbey Island is to follow in the steps of Capt. Vancouver and Lt. Puget. The island itself is named after the Sailing Master Joseph Whidbey.

Whidbey Island and Coupeville

As so often happens when it comes to history which is taught in western civilizations, the local population is overlooked and minimized. Whidbey Island is no exception.

Whidbey Island is credited with its discovery in 1790 by the Spanish expedition of Manuel Quimper and Gonzalo López de Haro on the Princesa Real. Captain George Vancouver fully explored the island in 1792. In May of that year, Royal Navy officers and members of Vancouver’s expedition, Joseph Whidbey (master of HMS Discovery) and Peter Puget (a lieutenant on the ship) began to map and explore the areas of what would later be named Puget Sound. After Whidbey circumnavigated the island in June 1792, Vancouver named the island in his honor. By that time, Vancouver had claimed the area for Britain.

Of course, the island had long been inhabited by the local Native American Tribes of the Lower SkagitSwinomishSuquamish, and Snohomish. These were peaceful groups who lived off the sea and land, with fishing, harvesting nuts, berries and roots, which they preserved over the winter.

Our particular invasion began when we rolled our RAD Power bikes up the gangway of the M/V Kennewick and onto the island. It was a beautiful sunny day despite the morning forecast for rain. Just one of those flukes of the microclimates that are prevalent n the Pacific Northwest.

We turned our bikes north and started peddling our way through the open fields and pastures toward Coupeville, a small community on the south shore of Penn Cove. After short peddle we found a place on the waterfront to lock our bikes and explore some of the shops that border the cove.

This historic downtown is small but full of boutique shops and restaurants. This community was originally settled in the 1850’ by sea captains and farmers. Coupeville was named for sea captain Thomas Coupe, who arrived on Puget Sound on the bark Success.  Scouting the area, Coupe settled at Penn Cove in 1852.  His wife, Maria, and their family joined him there in 1853 and Captain Coupe worked as a coastal trader, sailing both the Success and the Jeff Davis, the first revenue cutter on Puget Sound (part of the armed maritime law enforcement service).

It’s a place where you can still see many of the historic homes and buildings and well worth the visit. We thoroughly enjoyed our explorations by bike.

Support

Our mission is a labor of love, but it does come with overhead. If you’d like to support our efforts we’d certainly appreciate it. Currently, we’re actively participating in the following field research:

  • COASST Beached Bird Surveys
  • Wild and Scenic River Project

Thank you.

Chief Chetzemoka

I’ve been coming to Fort Worden State Park for just about as long as I’ve lived here in the PNW. And I’ve noticed the old dinghy placed on the dunes opposite the lower campground as well, but it wasn’t until this trip that I took the time to actually look up the unusual name painted across the bow. This really is a case where history can be hidden right under your nose!

Turns out the boat is named for a local S’Klallam Chief. He was forty years old when the first white settlers arrived at Port Townsend. The Superintendent of Indian Affairs recognized Chetzemoka as chief of the S’Klallam in 1854, holding him responsible for the “good behavior” of his people. At Point No Point, in 1855, Chief Chetzemoka signed a treaty giving up all S’Klallam land in exchange for retaining the right to fish, hunt and gather in the S’Klallam usual and accustomed areas. Such treaties, pushed by Governor Isaac Stevens and largely misunderstood by the Indians, provoked the Indian Wars in 1855-56.

Stepping on to Whidbey Island is to follow in the steps of Capt. Vancouver and Lt. Puget. The island itself is named after the Sailing Master Joseph Whidbey.

Member of the following

We are the learned society for geography and geographers.
as-seal-gr
Working to provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to make a difference as they play in the outdoors.
coasst-logo
Working to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions.
Sea Grant Washington
Provide integrated research, communication, and education to coastal communities that lead to the responsible use of the nation’s oceans.

twitter feed

Follow the team’s latest news and social feeds here. You’ll also find links to articles on the latest developments regarding citizen-science and the conservation of our oceans. 

We also use this feed for updates from the field as we pursue our own science and the occasional short video clip.

And please, feel free to join in the conversation. We’d love to hear what you’re up to as well. 

[custom-twitter-feeds]

Latest Instagram

Theresa is gazing at sunset while beachcombing. The clouds added a wonderful touch of drama to the scene. ...

Theresa is looking downstream at Murhat Falls. This waterfall is easy to drive to and an easy hike in the Olympic National Forest. ...

Skate Creek runs alongside Forest Road 52 in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. This was just one of the many photographic sites that can be accessed from the road. ...

Murhut Falls and its pool are nestled in the Olympic National Forest, not far from Dosewallips State Park. ...

Winter storm making landfall just south of Cape Flattery. This part of the Pacific Northwest can see some powerful storms. ...

An unnamed creek and a small waterfall that you can find along the Steam Donkey Loop trail, which starts within the Dosewallips State Park of Washington ...

Footsteps and a sunset over the Pacific Ocean. ...

Early morning sunshine filtered through the trees and reflected off the upper portion of Murhut waterfall ...

Theresa sitting under Murhut Falls, enjoying the beauty of the forest. ...

Found this small dam in the hills behind our camp on Hood Canal. At one time, it appears to have been used by a homestead to hold water during the summer months. #washingtonstateparks ...

A photographer takes a photo and becomes the subject himself. ...

“How We Survived a Slight Derailment on Tower Rock” was published on our website. You'll find a gallery of all photographs in the article towards the bottom of the page. I'd love to hear your thoughts or comments. You can find our URL in the bio. ...

During these wars, a number of S’Klallam held a secret meeting to decide whether or not to kill the whites in Port Townsend. The S’Klallam deliberated for nine days, during which Chetzemoka  sent a daily signal of “danger.” On the tenth day, the message from Signal Rock was, in essence, “danger is passed.” The S’Klallam had given up their purpose. Chetzemoka was considered a hero by the white population and from that point on was immortalized by them.

Ferries, parks, streets, and benches now bear his name….and a weather-worn dinghy on the beach of Point Wilson.

Please share this:

More to explore

Puntarenas Lighthouse
Journal

Costa Rica: Puntarenas

The only thing keeping my eyes open as we descend below the cloud deck was the site of San Jose nestled in a deep green valley.

Read More »
Journal

In Search of “Ground Photo Timothy”

In the early 1950s, the U.S. government became increasingly concerned about a Soviet military threat. This new age of nuclear fear was the beginning of a “Cold War” era t. As a result, many facilities were built on the west coast to search for any threats coming in over the Pacific.

Read More »

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.