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Camano Island, Washington

The adventures of Sir Oisin Leif and Prince Cian in Cama Beach, Washington on Thanksgiving Day. Photos taken on November 28, 2019. (c) 2019: Photos by Thomas Baurley, Oisin Leif Rhymour, Leaf McGowan. Tales at

Camano Island, Washington

Located west of Stanwood and within the Possession Sound of Puget Sound, in Island County, Washington just across from Whidbey Island is a large island called “Camano Island” and its beach area as “Cama Beach”. It is separated from Whidbey Island by the Saratoga Passage to the west and separated from the mainland by Davis Slough. It has a Gateway bridge for travelers to go back and forth over. Its population is small with just over 13,350 residents in 2000 with snowbirds bustling the population during the summer months.

The island is approximately 40 square miles. During the last ice age, this area formed by crevassing from a mile thick sheet of ice covering the sound carving the island with glacial till deposition. The island was named after Spanish explorer Jacinto Caamano, previously natively named Kal-lut-chin by the Snohomish tribe meaning “land jutting into a bay”. It was a Snohomish tribal base for shellfish gathering and fishing. Early Euro-American explorers came to the area first by Charles Wilkes during the Wilkes Expedition in 1838 who first named it MacDonough Island to honor Thomas MacDonough during the victory of the Battle of Lake Champlain War of 1812.

The waters in the area were named after McDonough’s flagship the Saratoga. It was in 1847 when Henry Kellett reorganized the official British Admiralty charts and renamed the area Camano after the original name by the Spanish in 1790. Jacinto Caamano explored most of the area going as far north to what is now Alaska and as far south to San Blas, Mexico. In the 1900’s it was renamed again to “Crow Island” during the logging boom of the area, but the name didn’t stick.

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