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Back  |  USA: Pacific Northwest   |  Puget Sound - North

Deception Island - West Side  |  USA: Pacific Northwest

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Deception Pass State Park
North of Whidbey Island, Washington

Type: Saltwater
Snorkling, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Ratings (1-5):
Reviews: 0
Enjoyment: 4
Visibility: 3
Current: 3
Aquatic Life: 5

Photo Gallery:

Northern Cove of Deception Island
Social Ascidians
Blood Star
Coral Leaf Algae
Zoanthids - Epizoanthus scotinus
Gumboot Chiton
Pedestal Cucumber
Fringe Worms
Sea Cucumber
Red Irish Lord


Wall, Large Rock Formation / Pinnacle, Boulder Pile / Shelves


Deception Island is a colorful dive site with great structure at any depth. The shape of the island provides protection from the intense ebbing currents from Deception Pass. Fine silt covers the rocky reef but there is a plentitude of life and dynamic structure making this a worthy dive location. The beautiful scenery, bird watching, whale/porpoise watching are other benefits of the location.

The most dynamic portion of Deception Island is the West side of the island. It drops off steeply here below the rocky cliffs of the island. Depths at the base of the cliff vary from 10 to 20’ deep with many jagged coves and large rocks that reach the surface on low tides. The shallows are full of life and make an ideal snorkeling location.

The bottom drops off in a series of ledges and steep rocky slopes covered in swimming scallops. It becomes a sheer wall at varying depths depending at your location. If beginning your dive from the north-facing cove, descend in the cove and follow the point around to the west end of the island. It is a sheer rock wall that descends to 80’ and then you can either turn NW and look for deeper structure or head SE back up toward the west end of the island and enjoy the shallow reef.

Special Restrictions:

BEWARE; the currents from Deception Pass are very intense. Only dive this site on an ebb and stay within the lee on the west end of the island. Currents around the sides are very strong and carry you directly away from the island. Beware of water-falling currents as you descend to deeper structure as it is farther from the protection of the island. Observe weather reports and beware of wind waves from the west. Kayak divers should be aware of weather conditions and be mindful of the swirling water surface as they approach the island. From Bowman Bay, aim toward the east end of the island upon approach and let the current carry you to the cove at the west end.

How to get there:

Deception Island lies in the western entrance to deception Pass, just outside of bowman bay. It is the prominent island viewable from the Deception Pass bridge and from Bowman Bay and is located about 1 mile from each. Live boat is recommended since anchorage is difficult to find on the west end due to depth. Trying to anchor further up the sides of the island will put you in considerable current and it would be difficult to return to the boat.

It can also be accessed by kayak from Bowman Bay, 1 mile away, or from the lower loop near Cranberry Lake in the Deception Pass state park (although Bowman Bay is recommended). There is a small cove near the west end of the island facing north where you can pull kayaks out onto smooth stones. This also makes an ideal starting point for a dive.

There is a boat launch in Bowman Bay, as well as restrooms and camping throughout Deception Pass State Park.

Deception Island is a good back-up plan to Deception Pass if conditions are unfavorable. Other great nearby sites include Sares Head , Northwest Island and Coffin Rocks.

Thanks to ChevaYEA for submitting this site!
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