Willapa Bay, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean and southern extension of Willapa Harbor, extends south from Goose Point to Tarlett Slough. The Native American name was Atsmitl, a Chehalis tribal designation. In the period of Spanish exploration, it was charted as Ensenada de Mal Arrimo. Early settlers and oyster harvesters used the name South Bay, as suggested by James Swan. Capt. John Meares, a British fur trader, named it Shoalwater Bay on July 5, 1788 because it was shallow. The name of Shoalwater was replaced by the present name for the Willapa tribe who once lived on the shores of the bay. The bay has many flats that are exposed at low tide and a number of small islands, spits, and sloughs.
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