Island County Other Islands

Maybe we should call it Islands County, plural rather than singular. Island County is more than Whidbey Island. Many temporarily forget about Camano Island. Those two hold the people, but those two islands are outnumbered by the other ‘rocks’ in our corner of the Puget Sound, the Salish Sea. Hello, Baby, Ben Ure, Deception, Kalamut, Minor, Smith, and Strawberry.

Baby Island

The mouth of Holmes Harbor holds the disappearing island that is Baby Island. The Tulalip tribes lived from its sealife, probably for thousands of years. For a few decades it became a fishing resort. Stories tell of rum-running and Holmes Harbor freezing. Baby Island isn’t far from land; sometimes it is even connected at low tide as people wander out to it, hopefully returning before the tide returns. Check with the authorities, first, of course. Nature is reclaiming the resort is being reclaimed, and the island. Weather and waves do their thing. 

Ben Ure Island

Near Deception Pass, Ben Ure Island is remarkable because it is close, and has houses on it. It has an unseemly history involving human smuggling. It transitioned to a quiet and legal retreat which includes Ben Ure Cabin – which has also been the residence for an artist in residence. There’s a dock, and the County lists about 18 lots on the island. Much of the island is owned by the park, so don’t expect crowds. Respect the residents, eh?

Deception Island

Look west from Deception Pass and there it is, Deception Island. Not very imaginative naming. Despite being prominent in many sunset photos through the Pass, very little has been written about the island, probably because it, as with others on the list, are natural and not inhabited by people. The local inhabitants, wildlife and such, aren’t known for writing articles on the web.

Kalamut Island

Talk about uninhabited, Kalamut Island is close to downtown Oak Harbor, but even official documents have described it as “Kalamut Island is actually a submerged sandbar off the east side of Maylor Point.” – Island County Multi-Jurisdiction Hazard Mitigation Plan

Great location, though. 

Minor and Smith Islands

Well, some county had to claim them. Smith Island, and its barely connected Minor Island sit in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and are so remote that they could equally well be part of San Juan County. Such a remote location actually makes them useful for shipping because they’ve housed lighthouses (now automated). 

Strawberry Island

Sounds romantic. Is there a Champagne Island, too? No. Oh well. Strawberry Island is north of Ben Ure Island, and east of Deception Pass. Imagine the view from that island.

You may have suspected some things they have in common. No bridges or roads. Not exactly over-developed, which is the point. Most have some history, but not much, at least not much recent human history. Each has probably been visited by humans for thousands of years. Wildlife has found them. Which came first, the flora or the fauna? Along the way the ice claimed them. Parks and preserves define them now. Want to visit Island County’s other islands? Try contacting the authorities first. Be prepared to row. There are probably reasons and maybe ways that the access is as it is. They are nice to have as part of our extended community, though.

2 thoughts on “Island County Other Islands

  1. Before the Smith Island Lighthouse deteriorated and fell into the sea, it of course had Lighthouse Keepers. One, with his sons was there for a very long time; during a fierce storm he rowed out to save a mariner and perished. He is buried at Sunnyside Cemetary.


  2. Before the Smith Island Lighthouse deteriorated and fell into the sea, it, of course, had Lighthouse Keepers. One, with his sons, was there for very long time. He perished one stormy nite trying to save mariners. He is buried at Sunnyside Cemetary.


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