The battery at Fort Casey showed up in this previous post. At the time I showed the general layout but I didn’t show the details of some of the machinery. One of the guns that was still in place was in good condition and the markings from its manufacture were still clearly seen. The location of the manufacturer and the date when it was made are there to see while the rifling of the barrel shows up well. Given the age of the gun, it is in excellent condition.
Washington State Ferries cover a wide range of routes. Some of them are major commuter journeys and the boats are sized to handle lots of cars and passengers. Others are far more specialized runs that have lower frequencies and capacity. This can change throughout the year with the peak season demand being way higher than the off-season and larger boats get drafted in.
While I was on the shore at Coupeville, one of the ferries came in. We actually took this route on a vacation a couple of years ago and it was quite busy then. This time things were a lot quieter and the boat was clearly not one of the biggest that WSDOT has available.
Fort Casey had a bunch of deer that were chomping their way around the grounds while I was there. These deer seemed pretty fearless. I guess there are tons of people coming through the Fort, most of whom will not be any trouble to the deer so they must get pretty used to people in close proximity and know that they are not in any threat. Consequently, I found that my efforts at getting a photo were pretty straightforward. If I tried to get too close, I figured that they would move off but I could be close enough without affecting them.
The one creature that did seem to spook one of the deer was a cat. Sitting up against a wall was a ginger cat that was sunning itself. It didn’t seem to be interested in doing anything at all but the deer was aware of it and seemed to be quite nervous. A number of times it would jump, presumably because the cat had twitched in some way. It seemed pretty clear that it was not moving for anyone though. I guess the deer is going to have to get used to it.
My buddy Mark let me know that some more FCLP training was scheduled for Coupeville on a day with a good weather forecast. Sadly, the wind suggested they would be operating in the opposite direction to that of my last visit (as discussed here and here) but there was the possibility of some morning flying which might mean the sun was on the right side for a while, even if a bit on the tail of the jets. Unfortunately, the unit didn’t get the memo and they showed up in the middle of the day for the first round of flying so, while the conditions were okay, they were working against us.
Still, there are a lot worse things to do than watch Growlers bouncing through FCLP training. You can move along the fence line at Coupeville to try and vary the angle, so Mark and I were zipping to and fro in order to try and find something different. There are some bushes on the field that can be a touch inconvenient when looking to capture the moment of touchdown but a little experimentation and you could get a good result.
The jets appear to come through a tunnel in the trees as they are on final approach and the trees provide a nice backdrop for touchdown. As they power up and away again, the light angles are most favorable so you can get a few good shots. However, they end up pretty samey pretty quickly.
We expected a second batch of jets in the early afternoon so headed to the other side. Here you are a lot further from the runway so the jets on the ground are rather distant and heat haze is a bit of a problem. We got a few movements and then headed back to a nearby park where the jets tend to turn over the top of you as they enter the downwind. The light is a bit better here but, again, the shots are pretty repetitive. The only change is when the jet is done and it climbs straight out cleaning up as it goes.
With a decent amount of shots made, we decided it was time to try our luck elsewhere. The Growlers would get back to Ault Field pretty quickly but we were going by car so it was a little longer for us. However, there was much to justify the trip and that will be apparent in some upcoming posts.
I posted about the lighthouse at Fort Casey here but the fort is obviously a lot more than just a lighthouse. It was built to defend Puget Sound and this meant some big gun emplacements. Much like similar emplacements along the west coast, most of the hardware is now long gone but some has been kept in place to show how things once were. The emplacements themselves are pretty substantial and are well maintained by the park team. With the guns gone, you see just how big the space taken up by the guns was.
Meanwhile, a couple of installations are still equipped. One has a gun elevated to the firing position while the other has the mechanism retracted. The complexity of the gearing to raise, lower, elevate and rotate the guns is old school engineering at its best.
Behind the guns are some of the spotting towers. From here the crews would have identified targets and called in the sighting requirements to the gun crews for them to engage. They are painted green to blend in with the background since they would have been a primary target for any invaders. As it happened, no-one came so these forts never engaged any enemies.
My trip to Whidbey Island meant I had a fair bit of spare time to work with. I was chatting with a guy while I was there and he suggested a trip to Fort Casey. It was barely five minutes from where I was and it was a sunny day so why not. Fort Casey is one of the forts that were built to protect the Puget Sound area from possible invasion. Not only was it a fort but it also has a lighthouse. When I first got there, the lighthouse was off in the distance but, after a little exploration, I headed over to see it.
As with a lot of lighthouses in this part of the world, it is not terribly large. It doesn’t have to shine too far since there are islands all over the place blocking the line of sight so no need for it to be too high. Still, it is well maintained and comes in standard lighthouse white!