The Coast Guard took us from Neah Bay Washington to Cape Flattery in
an inflatable boat. It was a pleasant journey out to Tatoosh Island,
although we had to wear "Mustang" suits. (orange float
suits). The Pacific Ocean water is very cold, and a person overboard
doesn’t last a long time without protection.
The two young Coasties had never been out there, and they set
us ashore on a rock, that they thought would get us to shore.
Well, it did, but not easily. They gave us a two way radio, to keep
in touch. After they pulled away, we realized that the rock we were
on just led to another rock sticking out of the water, covered with
moss. We were wearing those suits, feeling like little kids in
snowsuits, carrying our camera gear in plastic garbage bags to keep
them dry. Somehow, we held on to each other, got to a big rock,
where we slid down the side of it, onto a beach, where we had to
walk through what was almost a cave, a big indenture in the rocky
cliff. There our path turned into an obstacle course of large rocks,
boulders and driftwood. We had to get through all this to get across
the sandy beach that led to the steps up the hill to the lighthouse.
At this point, we took off the Mustang suits that were getting very
warm. (And left them to the squawking seagulls, who were the only
inhabitants of Tatoosh). This part of the beach smelled of decaying
kelp and seagull guano and we were hoping the suits would not smell
the same when we reclaimed them.
We climbed up the rickety old steps that led up the hill to
the lighthouse. The wind was blowing up there, with a eery sound,
blowing through the tall grasses that covered the top of the island.
There were clumps of yellow flowers blooming everywhere, giving a
splash of color to the drab landscape on that overcast day. It was
hard to believe that at one time so many buildings were up there on
that island and so many people stationed there. Although you can
actually see the Washington Coast, the island is very isolated. We
had just started taking our photos, when the Coasties called us on
the radio they had loaned us. "Have to get off! A storm is
coming in!" So we got in a few more shots, hurried down the
steps to the beach, put on the Mustang suits, threaded through the
boulders and driftwood, went through the cave, and there it was, the
stone wall we had slid down. OH NO!
It was 5 or 6 feet tall, and we are not young or strong. We didn't
think we'd ever get up the wall. Bob wanted to call the Coast Guard
to come and get us.
I said if they came and rescued us, they would never take us
anywhere again. So we struggled and worked and finally boosted Bob
up the wall, then he pulled me up. What a relief! At that point the
Coasties were able to see us and came to take us aboard. With the
storm coming in, the ride back to Neah Bay was rather rough. It was
a very short visit to Cape Flattery Lighthouse and Tatoosh Island,
and we wish it could have been longer, but we sure are glad we went.
Our transportation to
Cape Flattery Lighthouse.
Bob climbing the moss covered
rocks on Tatoosh Island. Our camera gear is in the plastic
Bob, just after
we climbed back over the rock "wall" that was so