A wonderful tour of Willapa in Southwest Washington and the area surrounding Willapa Bay. Willapa Bay, Southwest Washington's beautiful estuary has been known by different names for nearly an equal amount of time. Join the author on a journey through time discovering the rich and abundant past of this beautiful area. Will up a Bay, Southwest Washington states beautiful estuary, has been known by different names for nearly an equal amount of time. British Capt. John Meares, a private fur trader, discovered and recorded the harbor entrance in 1788. Meares judged the edged to wary to be too shallow and treacherous to enter, and named it Shoalwater Bay. Known by that name for 102 years, the change occurred once peculator's of two 1889 South Bend land companies lobbied officialdom, stating that their dreams of an industrial port required a more persuasive name to attract shipping in business.