Cape George Colony Club

Cape George Discovery

Manuel Quimper first entered Discovery Bay in 1790 and named it Porta de la Bodega y Quadra after the Spanish explorer Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra. In 1792 it was renamed Port Discovery by English captain George Vancouver for H.M.S. Discovery. Indians actively used the bay, and both Quimper and Vancouver reported having contact with them as well as observing an extensive number of grave sites on shore.

Wednesday, May 2, 1792.  British exploring vessels Discovery and Chatham move from New Dungeness to Discovery Bay.  Captain Vancouver was taken with the area...

“The delightful serenity of the weather greatly aided the beautiful scenery that was now presented: the surface of the sea was perfectly smooth, and the country before us exhibited everything that bounteous nature could be expected to draw into one point of view.

“A picture so pleasing could not fail to call to our remembrance certain delightful and beloved situations in old England.”

Using long boats to tow the ship, Captain Vancouver continues...

”before noon abreast of the stream that discharges from the western shore near 5 miles from the entrance to the harbor which I distinguished by the name of PORT DISCOVERY after the ship.”

Sixty years later, S. B. Mastick established a lumber mill at the head of the bay, and, by 1870, it supported a population of three hundred. Within thirty-nine years, the mill had come upon bad times and the Discovery Bay communities of Maynard, Fairmont, and Uncas had become ghost towns. Some buildings remain, but only old-timers remember the community distinctions.

The shores of the bay offer major commercial clam beds, but its waters are seldom used by either fishermen or visiting sailors. Though winds are good, the bay's charms pale in comparison to the San Juan Islands, a few miles to the north, so few bother to venture in. Protection Island, which, as Vancouver observed, does protect Discovery Bay waters, also diverts large schools of fish, thus making the bay less interesting to fishermen.  However, the waters are favored for springtime romps by seals and sea lions

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