|02-12-2011, 07:49 AM||#1|
Joined: Jun 2008
Exploring Cape Flattery
"... there appeared to be a small opening which flattered us with the hopes of finding an harbour ... On this account I called the point of land to the north of it Cape Flattery.”
Captain James Cook March 22, 1778
I stand on the very spot named by Captain James Cook 233 years ago.
Cape Flattery was the very first thing named by any European explorer in what will become known as Washington State. Cape Flattery is also the northwestern most point of the continental United States. Vancouver Island is visible across the Strait of San Juan de Fuca.
Captain Cook was looking for a safe harbor that night. It can’t have been easy, commanding a sailing ship in that day. There were no lighthouses along the shore to guide the sailor. There were only crashing waves and sharp rocks.
They did not find a safe harbor that night and so they sailed on northward to finally land on the shores of Vancouver Island. Curiously, Captain Cook sailed right past the Strait of San Juan De Fuca. He did not even notice it. And so the exploration of the entire Puget Sound would be left to another captain on another voyage.
As for Captain Cook he went sailing northward and charted the coastline on the way up to Alaska. He tried to sail across the Bering Strait but was foiled in the attempt. So he turned south to go back to the Hawaiian Islands where natives murdered him.
One other curiosity of history is that serving as master of the HMS resolution at the time was William Bligh who later went on to achieve infamy as the notorious Captain Bligh of the HMS Bounty.
And now I stand on the bluffs of Cape Flattery thinking about the history that has happened here and wondering what might come in the next 200 years. One thing for sure, the winds, the waves, and the cliffs will still be battling in an eternal struggle.
But I have gotten ahead of myself. When I awoke it was 32°in Seattle on the bright clear morning. It looked like a great day for a motorcycle ride. So I bundled into warm clothing and set off.
To get to the Olympic Peninsula I had to take a ferry.
I ran across the group of enthusiastic bird watchers. Funny not a one that of them had any camera gear. But the little telescopes they had were fantastic for getting a close up view of the shorebirds...
These are the birds they were all looking at.
The New Dungeness Lighthouse was the first lighthouse completed in Washington Territory. It has operated continuously providing navigational aids to ships plying the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca since its lard oil lamp was lit for the first time on 14 December 1857.
The shoreline near the Dungeness spit is rich feeding grounds for the multitude of birds, crabs, fish and other sea life found here. It is a good hunting ground for the eagles who live in the trees along the cliff. Sometimes you come here and find dozens of them flying along the cliff searching for food. But today I only saw three and none of them were flying. Young bald eagles do not have the distinctive white head yet.
The Strait of San Juan De Fuca is a very busy shipping lane. Ships travel through here on their way to Tacoma, Seattle, Anacortes, and Vancouver. Since it was a clear day I could see five or six ships at any given time.
In this area the lavender plant grows well. I saw several organic lavender farms as I passed by. This isn't a lavender farm, but it is a barn painted a nice lavender color. I think it makes a nice picture with the Olympic mountains in the background.
The small community of Neah Bay is the heart of Macah Indian tribe. This is their land and I’m just a visitor.
A nice trail leads down through the cedar forest to the cape itself.
As I descended through the forest I could hear the distant sound of crashing waves. The rich scent of the forest mingled with the salty sea air.
At the edge of the continent the land breaks into sea stacks and sea caves.
Look at the tenacity of this tree clinging to the cliff above the entrance to a sea cave! I estimated that the crashing waves were a good 80-100 feet below.
Tatoosh island lies just offshore. Actually it’s a small group of islands. It used to be home to a Makah fishing camp where they would sail in dugout canoes to hunt for whale. Now it is home to a still functioning but decrepit looking lighthouse. The Cape Flattery lighthouse could use some paint.
What a wonderful day I spent at the northwestern most tip of the continental United States. Of course that left me with a frigid 3 hour ride back to Seattle on the dark twisty roads. I hope you enjoy the ride report.
|02-13-2011, 10:56 AM||#4|
Joined: May 2010
Location: seal beach, ca.
Nice! Thanks for posting.
Used to go to that area way back when. My wifes uncle is a veterinarian in Port Angeles, has been for 30 years. We used to ride the Coho to Victoria. Wonderful memories. Time to get back to our great NW. Thanks again for sharing.
|02-15-2011, 12:52 PM||#5|
The Energizer Bunny
Joined: Nov 2003
Location: marietta, ga.
Very nice/thanks for taking us along. I hope to return to the area again next summer.
ride till you can't.
Boxer Cup Replika/red-white-blue
|02-16-2011, 07:36 PM||#6|
Joined: Mar 2006
Very, very cool!
My wife and I went there this last June. Beautiful!
|02-16-2011, 10:22 PM||#7|
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Port Angeles, WA
Cool video & great ride report
Thanks for taking the time to share your trip with us. I have lived in Port Angeles for about 9 years now and have only been out there once! It's only an hour + away! It's going on my short list of rides to do.
I bought the Griptwister tour of the Olympic Peninsula last year and rode it with 3 other guys. Rained like it was gonna drown us, but we still had fun. It's broken up into about 8 sections, and I've already re-done a couple close to me. I'll be doing the whole thing again hopefully sometime this summer. Nice riding out here.
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