Deception Pass – Anacortes, Washington

On the northwestern tip of the contiguous states of America lies one of its greatest treasures, the Puget Sound, and the San Juan Islands. There is a lot of protected land out here, and many little place to explore using many different ways to explore those areas. The main town to jump off and explore this area is Anacortes, Washington, the home of the ferry that will take people out to the islands, mainly the biggest attraction out there, Friday Harbor. Many people make there way out here to take this journey and explore that town, but they miss a great spot that only takes a short drive from Anacortes to explore, Deception Pass.

Deception Pass is a state park that is celebrating its 100th year this year, and cover over 3,800 acres in the San Juan Islands. Its most prominent feature though is the Deception Pass Bridge which was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1982. The bridge basically connects two islands, Whidbey and Fidalgo over the expanse of water that rushes between them that gives the park its name. The reason that this rush of water has earned the name, Deception, is because of the way the water has caused problems for so many sailors over the years. The water changes speed based on the flow of the ebb of the tide. At its greatest speed it can reach 8 knots that can make life difficult for people in kayaks, and they can be sped through this narrow pass, making it hard for a return trip.

The bridge is of course, a great viewpoint for the area, and there are walkways that people can take to safely walk leisurely over it. But this is not the only reason to come out to visit this state park. There are horse trails, bike trails, and 38 miles of hiking trails that will take visitors to various beaches, tide pools, and lush forests to explore. There is also kayaking, fishing, boating, camping and of course, for those just coming up for the day, picnicking.

The wildlife out there is worth the trip as well. There are tons of birds hunting for their next meal in the water with the herons being the most impressive of the ones that I saw. I also saw a few small fury creatures scurrying about, and there were signs for deer, so I am sure that there are sighting for those as well. If you stand at the shore long enough, you will also see seals pop their heads out from time to time. And of course, it is dog friendly, and there is always one of them that are willing to come up to greet you.

It is a beautiful park, and a must see if you ever make it up to this part of the country. It is a twenty minute drive from I-5 on highway 20 in Washington, and the drive over there is just as amazing as the park itself. It is also a great jump off point for exploring other parts of the San Juan Islands as well. I just spent an afternoon exploring what it had to offer and barely scratch the surface of this place. It will be a place that I will come back to visit again sometime.

What I’ll Miss About Thailand – The Beaches

Hau Hin a couple of months before the pandemic started

I know I have said in the past that I am more of a mountain man rather than an ocean man, but that does not mean that I don’t appreciate a good beach, and Thailand has a lot of them. It does have mountainous terrain to the north and I do enjoy those places, but it is mainly the beaches that I will remember from my stay of living in Thailand.

Kata Beach on Phuket island

I was pretty lucky also. Most of the time, the beaches in Thailand are crowded with people and it can be hard to stake out a place on the sandy shore. But than Covid happened, and the usual stream of tourists were no longer allowed to come into the country, giving the beaches back to the locals who should have a chance to enjoy them as well.

Rayong! I don’t need to say more

This meant that there were many times we had the beach to ourselves. It is an odd thing to see, a long stretch of sand next to the warm, tropical waters just begging for toes to be dipped in. Most of the time, this was a welcoming sight, but there was a little bit of a down side to this as well. The Thai people usually do a good job making sure these beaches are pristine and free of trash, but with the loss of the tourist dollar, they were not able to keep all of the beaches clean. That meant it was a hit or miss affair where sometimes the beach would be clean, and there were other times where I had to watch where I was walking because I didn’t always know what I would be stepping on.

A monitor lizard on Koh Lipe island

But on those beaches that were clean and the people were still not flocking to them, there was another sight that wasn’t as common in the past, wildlife had returned. Of course, I still saw the crab scuttle along the beach, or the birds flying just off the shore, looking for a quick bite, but I also saw monkeys and monitor lizards just basking in the summer sun. It meant that any time I went to a beach, a new adventure was just around the corner.

Princess Beach on Railay

The beaches were only just a place to walk and lie in the sand, but there were many opportunities for water sports as well. I went snorkeling a few times, and paddle-boarding as well, but my favorite activity had to be kayaking. The rentals of these were still available in most places, and sometimes they were even a free service with the hotel we were staying at. It was a great way to explore the coastline and see other beaches that sometimes were not easy to get to.

Nai Harn Beach on Phuket island

Even if I did not have access to any of these floatation devices, I could still run out and play in the water. During the summer months on the southern beaches, the surf was pretty big on some of the beaches. What surfers that were still in the country made their ways down to these beaches to catch these waves, but there was still plenty of space for people like me who love to jump into the oncoming waves and keep my balance. I know it is not the safest activity in the world with the danger of the undertow, but it is probably one of my favorite things to do on a beach.

A sunrise on Koh Lipe island

And with all of that available, the beaches in Thailand are the perfect place to lay back with a good book and relax. I know that there are many places out there in the world that offer the same kind of relaxation but I really fell in love with this activity in Thailand. The country does really have some beautiful landscapes and I know that they will get overcrowded again as things start opening up all around the world, but I will always look back fondly on the ways that I was able to enjoy the beaches while I was living in Thailand, and it will definitely be one of the things that I will miss from there.