I see this beach every time I drive across the Deception Pass bridge (southbound, at least). I see this beach in dozens of pictures I've taken from the bridge (for example: Deception Pass: May 2013). I've seen it numerous times from the rocky promontory where West Beach turns the corner and becomes North Beach. But I don't know if I've actually visited this beach since I started working on beaches more than 25 years ago!
So late on a Friday afternoon two weeks ago, I decided I could delay the trip home for an hour or two. It was one of the best decisions I've made in a long time.
North Beach is the terminus of the West Beach drift cell. Although I suspect much of the sediment that drifts north along the west side of the Whidbey Island is lost offshore to deep water as it rounds the corner, some gets through. Or at least enough has gotten through in the past that the beach has been able to form and even build out, filling indentations in this originally steep and irregular rocky shoreline. This is a complex area, with strong currents and deep water just offshore, which undoubtedly confuses any simple picture of this beach's behavior.
There's a neat animation of the West Beach drift cell at the new Shore Friendly website:
Shore Friendly: West Whidbey
(it's worth checking out the rest of the website, too)
I'm often asked about my favorite beach on the Salish Sea. I always struggle with this question (it's sort of like asking me my favorite color or my favorite restaurant), but as soon as I walked down the trail I realized I'd found an answer to that question. It may not be my only favorite beach, but it's the perfect answer the next time I'm asked. It's got everything - rocky headlands, beaches, an undeveloped backshore, fast-moving water, big trees, public ownership, an easy trail, and a beautiful bridge.
|Macs Cove - the eastern end of North Beach|