A water passage between Camano and Whidbey islands in Puget Sound, central Island County, is called Saratoga Passage. On June 4, 1792, the pass was named Port Gardner, by Capt. George Vancouver, for Vice-Admr. Sir Alan Gardner of the Royal Navy. In 1841, Cmdr. Wilkes charted the passage under the present name in honor of the U.S. flagship in the battle of Lake Champlain during the War of 1812. Capt. Kellett tried to restore Vancouver’s name in 1847, but was unsuccessful. Gardner’s name is on the bay at Everett in Snohomish County. (Meany, p. 257).
The Wilkes Expedition, 1841, made the following record: “I have called Saratoga Passage the strait leading from Deception Passage to Admiralty Inlet at the south end of Whidby’s Island, 35 miles distant.” (Hydrography Volume XXII., page 311, and chart 77.)
Wilkes had called the island on the east of the waterway “McDonough’s Island” in honor of Thomas Macdonough who gained fame in the Lake Champlain battles of 1812, using as his flagship the Saratoga. Intensifying a geographical honor for a naval hero by an adjacent one for his ship, was a favorite scheme of Wilkes.
Vancouver, in 1792, had named the waterway Port Gardner after Sir Alan Gardner. The southeastern cape ` he had called Point Alan after the same man and the adjacent waterway he called Port Susan after Lady Susan Gardner. He took possession for Great Britain and called the waterway from Point Alan to the southern end of Whidbey Island Possession Sound.
Captain Henry Kellett in 1847 gave the Spanish name Camano to the island and sought to restore Vancouver’s name of Port Gardner. Much variation is observed on subsequent charts. Port Gardner has now practically disappeared. The United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Chart 6450 shows Possession Sound extending from the southern end of Whidbey Island to Allen Point and Saratoga Passage from that point northward.
The same Survey’s Chart 64.48 gives the name Port Gardner to the southern portion of Everett Harbor. [Edmond S. Meany. Origin of Washington Geographic Names. Seattle: University of Washington, 1923. p. 257].