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Dead Man's Bay/Cove

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Dead Man's Bay/Cove

Hike along a short trail from the Lime Kiln State Park to Dead Man's Bay or drive and park at the top of the bay. Dead Man's Bay is a beautiful quiet cove with a pebble stone beach and tide pools to explore.

Kayaking off of Lime Kiln Point, San Juan Island.

A kayaking tour paddles past the Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse, a.k.a. Whale Watch Park. Lime Kiln State Park, San Juan Island. Photo: Jason's kayaking blog.


This beach is at the base of a forested hillside and so you want to have good traction when walking down the hill. It is not uncommon to see marine mammals such as orca whales passing by throughout the summer months.

Other activities possible are beachcombing, hiking, photography, rock climbing, launching your kayak, picnicking, and diving.

How Dead Mans Bay got its name: ( courtesy of Wikipedia )In the waters of Deception Pass, just east of the present-day Deception Pass Bridge is a small island known as Ben Ure Island. The island became infamous for its activity of smuggling illegal Chinese immigrants for local labor. Ure and his partner Lawrence "Pirate" Kelly were quite profitable at their smuggling business and played hide-and-seek with the United States Customs Department for years.

Ure's own operation at Deception Pass in the late 1880's consisted of Ure and his Native-American wife. Local tradition has it that his wife would camp on the nearby Strawberry Island (which was visible from the open sea) and signal him with a fire on the island's summit to alert him to whether or not it was safe to bring his illegal cargo ashore. For transport, Ure would tie the illegal immigrants up in burlap bags so that if customs agents were to approach then he could easily toss the bags overboard. The tidal currents would carry the discarded immigrant's bodies to San Juan Island to the north and west of the pass and many ended up in what became known as Dead Man's Bay.

View other places of interest on the west side of San Juan Island.

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