A Beach to Myself

What’s it like having a beach all to yourself? When you spend time mid-week on beaches on Whidbey and Camano, you find out.

by Jack Penland

It was “mine o’ mine,” 300 feet of sand, driftwood and a view to make you feel like the world just had to be a perfect place.

That was the unintended consequence of taking the camera out to Island County’s newest stretch of public beach, a stretch so new there are no signs and I’m not sure there really is a name.

But the sun was out and I just couldn’t stand being inside anymore.

The beach, I guess most call it Robinson Beach, is the nearest water access from my house on Whidbey, so the westward view of Admiralty Inlet and the Olympics beyond is something I’ve seen and photographed a lot.

Today, the plan would be different.

I planned on creating a time-lapse movie of the clouds drifting by. There were high clouds and low ones, all moving as if on their own agenda.

One thing about a time-lapse movie, it takes, well… time. Also, the camera does all the work. You set up how often it snaps a photo, put it on a tripod, set your view, and congratulations, you are not really needed for the next 40 minutes.

40 minutes to… to watch! 40 minutes of listening to the waves! 40 wonderful minutes to poke my shoes at the grass and just think!

I closed one eye and looked at a cloud to see if I could see it moving against a hill. I decided that, well… I decided I just couldn’t tell. I’d just have to wait for the camera to unfold the scene.

So, I watched a sea bird hover and dive in the water, two crows argue over I don’t know what, and the clouds change the light around me.

I had time to listen to my thoughts, time that was okay to just sit because technically speaking, I was working. So, the camera was processing, and my brain was a few feet away doing the same thing.

In 2013, helicopter pioneer and Langley High graduate Frank Robinson donated the beach to Island County.

Since then, the “private property” signs were pushed back, but so far, that’s the only change. As before, the Mutiny Bay boat launch is there, along with the sand, driftwood, grasses, sea birds, and a magical view.

But, that was pretty much it. On this mid-week afternoon, no one else came by.

It was “mine o’ mine,” if only for those 40 minutes.

To see the time-lapse video, go here.

To Get to Robinson Beach…

From Freeland, travel south on Fish Road until it ends at Mutiny Bay Road. Turn left, drive about .5 miles to Robinson Road. Turn right and drive about 200 yards to the parking lot on your right. The beach and boat launch is straight ahead.  Be mindful that the beach is small and be respectful of the private beach property on either side.


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