Practices of Deception

The Pass was hidden, a treacherous rift of currents that didn’t want to shoot strait – at least from the perspective of Captain George Vancouver.  Back in 1792, while exploring the Pacific Northwest, he sent Joseph Whidbey sailing northward along the east coast of a strip of land that now bears Whidbey’s name.  Whidbey made it up the Saratoga Passage and explored eastward into Skagit Bay, but didn’t make it far enough west to find an outlet. It wasn’t until they changed their practice and explored up the west coast of Whidbey that they found the strait, making Whidbey an island rather than a peninsula.  Captain Vancouver was so annoyed being fooled by that hidden rift of roiling water he called it Deception Pass.

226 years later, another group of intrepid sailors headed up to that deceptive pass to pursue a different set of practices.  I was one of them.

(Click on any photo for a larger picture)_72D5372-1200

Ok, maybe “sailors” is a bit of a reach. We do spend a lot of time in a boat on the open ocean on these excursions.  We do pay attention to the tides and tidal currents.  We do navigate from point A to point B – and no commercial sea captain to take the responsibility.  I guess that makes us sailors.  But we weren’t there to sail.


We were there to scuba dive.

The thing is, I retired my underwater camera years ago, so you’ll just have to settle for pictures I took at days end.


But hey, talking about one thing and showing pictures of something else is a deceptive practice, right? What else would I do at Deception Pass?


Besides, what would you rather see, a picture of a Ling Cod and a hunk of sponge, or pictures from the golden hour?



I could tell you about driving a 20-foot power boat through the ripping tidal currents of a narrow passage that tries to flood or ebb a whole bay’s worth of water; the standing waves, the eddies that yaw the boat left or right as we pass through.  But a sunset is more peaceful.



After a day of bounding across the open ocean, breathing in the sea air above and compressed air below, a leisurely evening watching the sky put on a show of pastel colors is just the way to end the day.




And if I exaggerate the colors the camera sees, just a little, does that count as a deceptive practice?


It doesn’t hurt to spend times like these with old friends; diving, camping, sharing meals, sharing stories around the campfire.  And proving you’re never too old to attempt skipping rocks.

If to top it off, such a weekend provided gorgeous weather and views to forever, you could not blame us for thinking the whole affair was a sublime outing with nature.

Would I deceive you about that?

43 thoughts on “Practices of Deception

  1. Rosemary

    I watched you take some of these photos and the results are breathtaking. I was happy with a few I took with my cell phone until I saw these beauties. Your talent blows me away Dave. I’d like to post a few on Facebook. If I attribute them to you would that be okay?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Rosemary. The skies were nice those nights, weren’t they? Possible photo tip for sunsets: if your phone camera has a setting for white balance (probably defaulted to auto white balance), change it to “Daylight” or even “Cloudy”. That way the camera’s auto white balance will not remove as much of the yellows and oranges and pinks in the sky. (But don’t forget to set it back to auto for normal use).

      Go ahead and use a few shots if you like, or, I’ve just cross posted a link to this post on my Facebook page, you could share that with a comment.


  2. Wonderful post, Dave, you can really bask in front of these sunset shots. I really like the evergreen and fern silhouettes, and the foxtail grass (or whatever that grain-looking plant might be). Since you’re spinning a sailor’s yarn, and were strait with us about using a bit of artifice with the illustrations, it sure seems appropriate and OK by me! Nautical types call it photoshipping and stagecraft.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is something calming about a sunset. And I often wonder why so many folks leave right after the sun clears the horizon, and miss out on the more subtle pastels and violets that follow.


  3. Really beautiful and peaceful shots. I will take golden hour photos over cod or sponges any day! In my view, enhancing photo colors is often just bringing them back to what we saw with our eyes, and that’s not deception at all! I honestly believe that’s what I’m doing if/when I make some adjustments. Of course there are some people who go overboard with the edits, but your photos look just how I imagine those scenes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. J.D. Riso

    Deception. I’ve always liked that word. It somehow seems to go deeper than disappointment. That soft golden glow of day’s end is magical. Your words and images conjure up the simple joys of summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Summer is my favorite time of year out here in the Northwest. The days are long, the weather can be glorious (although even here it’s been hotter than usual). And a nice sunset is like frosting on a cake.


    1. Sunsets can be very nice, or they can be a total bust. Summer is a good time for them, winter not so much.

      I don’t know if it’s just movies, but I have this notion of Tuscany always being bathed in such warm afternoon light. But for some reason, not London…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You’ve mastered the art of deception. 🙂 Your words talk about a fantastic world beneath land (one that I am too scared to explore) and your pictures capture another world with glittering blades of grass and golden sunsets. I enjoyed the ride from real to imaginary and back to real.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Is this a popular area for diving? I always think about underwater exploration in the tropics or farther south. If we’re honest, as creators we all practice deception by presenting the world to others how we see it. I very much like your method of it for sunsets.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s fairly popular, but not at the level of the tropics. Divers up here are a hardy breed. The water is colder (usually around 50 degrees F, plus or minus a couple), and the visibility is generally under 30 feet. Sometimes the tidal currents can be pretty strong, although we always try to time our dives so it’s less of a factor. But we don’t tell that to the warm water divers… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, Dave. I feel like you read my mind! Great and perfectly timed question about a book. I’m seriously considering it. And yes, I’ve been too quiet! So much happening this summer and so much content to catch up on. Hopefully I’ll have some posts coming up soon! Thanks for your sharing your serendipitous thoughts!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, Dave, this is an excellent tribute to Deception Pass, both written and photographed. Capturing the beauty here is perfect lighting 🙂 I learned to scuba at Deception Pass, grey and raining, so you have introduced me to its beauty. Thank you ~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m guessing you learned nearby, the pass itself is only diveable on rare occasions, and considered advanced. I haven’t done it myself. But the whole area has beauty, and having a chance to see it from the water or under it only adds to it.


  8. Reading this felt so good. We’ve been wanting to hike and we don’t have any free time 😦 We hiked once on vacation in June, that’s it 😦 I miss the PNW. Hoping to get out there again in Dec 2019 or early 2020. Storm watching in Tofino.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Acts of Deception – Plying Through Life

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