Coupeville is situated on the south side of a sheltered inlet known as Penn Cove. The town was originally built as a small port and its primary business was the import and export of goods between the island and the mainland. The wharf and associated buildings were all part of this essential commerce.
Although the wharf was originally built for transportation and storage of locally grown grain and other goods as well as ferry services for people, nowadays the wharf and boating facility primarily provide for pleasure activities.
In a partnership with Washington State University (WSU), the Port hosts several marine exhibits provided by the WSU - Beach Watchers. These consist of various interpretive displays and two marine mammal skeletons.
One skeleton suspended from the ceiling of the wharf building is that of a young Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus) whose 32.4 foot body was found on the northwest side if Whidbey Island in December 1998. Biologist Matt Klope, Island County/WSU Beach Watchers and other community volunteers worked to rescue the skeleton and carefully re-articulate it piece by piece. Through these efforts, the whale is here today to educate residents and visitors of Whidbey Island about the wonders of whales.
Nicknamed Rosie by the community, the whale was most likely 15' - 16' in length at birth, and three years old when he died. Had he lived a full life of 50 years or more, he would have grown to a length of 40' - 45' and a weight of 30 tons. He would have reached sexual maturity at five to eleven years of age.
The gray whale gets its name from its mottled gray skin, which is covered in barnacles and "whale lice." Many biologists believe Gray whales may have been among the first of the great whales to have evolved in their present form. The Gray whale has two blowholes, and its "spout" resembles a heart shape.
The other skeleton is that of a Dall's Porpoise, also preserved and presented by the WSU Beach Watchers in 2006. This porpoise washed ashore on Valentines day 2004 and so was called Rudolph Valentino, Rudy for short.
The Harbor Store was opened in 1986 in the "L" shaped building on the Wharf. It has evolved into:
- a restaurant, Kim's Café, catering to boaters and local residents alike,
- a gift shop Harbor Gift N' Kayak Rental in the building that provides a wide variety of gifts, clothes, trinkets, souvenirs, and native art. Seasonal kayak rentals can be made here also.
- a small coffee shop and local produce store, The Salty Mug in the building that sells basic supplies to boaters and hosts a local radio station, KWPA.
The boating facility has been set up so that a dozen or more power boats and sailboats can be moored to floats attached to the Wharf. There are also four buoys near the Wharf. Both unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel can be purchased at the fuel dock which is attached to the north side of the Wharf. This is the only public moorage in Penn Cove.
Marina/Harbormaster Phone Number: (360) 678-3625
- Mooring floats overnight (after 5:00 pm) fees -- Winter (October 1 - April 30) $0.50 per foot / Summer (May 1 - September 30) $1.00 per foot
- Mooring buoys overnight (after 5:00 pm) $10 for maximum length of 36 feet
- Courtesy moorage: 3 hour maximum after 5:00 pm with approval of Harbor Master $5.00 regardless of length
Additional boating facilities include:
- Diesel and unleaded gasoline fuel
- Showers for boaters
- A coffee shop with some boaters supplies