During a visit to Whidbey, we stopped off at Fort Casey to have some lunch. After eating, we walked downtown the hill from the lighthouse towards the main fort area. There was a ground of people flying kits on the grass down there. They clearly were experienced flyers and were flying routines in formation. There were three of them at first and they were very slick. A fourth joined in but I think was less experienced than the others. Even so, they were still doing a good job.
I got a few photos of them as they practiced. However, stills are not so good a way to give the feeling of kite flying so I went with a little video too. A little of the video is below.
We had a day out on Whidbey Island and we stopped off at Fort Casey to eat our lunch. We parked up near the lighthouse and there was a bald eagle hanging around along the cliff tops. The updrafts made soaring around a piece of cake for it. It landed in the top of a tree near us as we walked along the cliff. When we turned around and headed down the slope towards the fort, it started flying high above us and then appeared to swoop down into the bushes – presumably to catch a snack. We lost track of it at that point but a short while later it emerged from the bushes flying just above head height and straight towards us. I had the camera on the wrong settings to maximize my chance of getting a good shot but I still managed to get a few slightly blurry ones as it buzzed by.
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.
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.
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!