Deception Pass

Deception Pass
USA West


Site Review by
 Ed Kenney
Date: 08/17/2006


Site Condition
(1=worst, 5=best)

Name:  Ed Kenney Entry:    4.00
Email:   Click Here Bottom:    5.00
City:   Rainier Reef:    5.00
State:   Washington Animal:    5.00
Country:   USA Plant:    5.00
Diving:   10 years Facilities:    3.00
 Dives:   400 Solitude   4.00
    Roads:    5.00


*Average:    4.65
Deception Pass is the best advanced (or intermediate with guide) site that I have visited in Washington State. Having enjoyed it three times from both sides, the steep walls feature acres of colorful filter feeders as well as nice populations of big fish. For shore divers, the site is only really safe a few times a month when the slack tides are long. Divers new to the site would be wise to consult Anacortes Dive Shop for advice or in water guidance, or at least someone who has been diving there multiple times. To get there, take Interstate 5 north from Seattle about an hour, traffic allowing, to Mount Vernon. Just north, take State Route 20 West to Whidbey Island. Gawk at the currents and eddies below as you cross Deception Pass bridge and turn immediately right as soon as you've crossed into Deception Pass State Park (north side of Whidbey Island, south side of the Pass). Park in the upper parking lot, where there's plenty of room and a bathroom. The site use to be only open from April until October, but this year is was open all winter. Quoting Henry C. Powers 2002 Whidbey Island Dive Guide, "gear up in the upper parking lot of the North Beach area inside Deception Pass State Park. Pack your equipment down to the beach. Once slack starts, enter the water close to the rocks on the right side of the beach. This tiny cove is somewhat protected even on a flood current. Orient your compass to mark your return course and make your descent." The walk down to the beach is pleasant and the small cove starting-point is spectacular. Look out for salmon fishermen in season. The cliff to your right is the one you'll be diving along. It starts out in a beautiful garden, then passes three pillars, eventually ending in a series of pinnacles if the slack allows you that far. Usually, a nice tour to the third cliff pillar results. Slack is sometimes hard to gauge here, so get to the beach early and watch the floating debris and ducks. It's easy to start off too late. In any case, the little garden at the end of the dive is a great place to spend some time if you get carried back early. It's pleasant and safe even with some current. The site is exceptional for invertebrates, filter feeder, ling cod, nudibranchs, grunt sculpins and all types of greenling. It is covered in a variety of colorful marine life.    

Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:    1.00
Beginner:    1.00
Intermediate:    3.00
Advanced:    5.00
Night diving:    3.00

Seasonal Information

Season:    Fall
Year:    2003
Visibility:    3.00
Current:    3.00
Surf:    3.00

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