Scottish Influence Runs Deep

San Juan Island Lodging at The Highland Inn Bed and Breakfast, outside Friday Harbor, WA

I keep running into this website wherever I turn in the last few weeks. Well linked and well liked I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it as a wonderful place to stay if you are visiting San Juan Island.

I’ve only driven by but I’m certainly of a mind to find out how busy it is as I prowl through the Islands.


Missing orcas (killer whales)

Researchers fear five missing killer whales are dead

Almost certainly this link will rot but until it does. So who is missing?

Three Southern

  • K28 – Raven – 12 year old female – last seen Sept 19th
  • L43 – Jellyroll – 34 year old female – last seen Sept 2nd
  • L71 – Hugo – 20 year old male – last seen July 15th

Have a quick look here for the id photos.
Two Northern (Identities not given in the story)

Boat strikes are speculated on as is toxic waste weakening the immune system. Southern stories focus on starvation and lack of salmon.

In the light of a story that I started a few days ago about the endangered status of the whales this is hardly encouraging. When I think about all the other life in the ecosystem that is suffering but doesn’t get this coverage it seems a little discouraging. Except that there will be a trickle down effect.

For example: Each fall one of my true pleasures is going and doing some treeplanting on an obscure creek in the Whatcom watershed. From orcas to treeplanting? Ah yeah. I’m here to plant trees. I have some obscure sense that this in some way stems the disappearance of trees and I just enjoy being out in the crisp fall air. The link though is salmon. Prime fodder for the orca and the heartbeat of this little stream.

Choked out by reed canary grass – a local group is slowly restoring it. In the face of beavers and other setbacks we are slowly gaining ground. Salmon being released now will return to be able to spawn in clear waters at some point in the future.

Do we need millions of dollars to restore the orca? No though we do need millions of tiny actions like this tree planting exercise.


Salish Sea Reprise

In my search for info on the Salish Sea I came across a much more articulate individual that writes in much the same vein as I. Salish Sea is a blog description of one of the more inspiring moments in the forest life. Transcendental or not the quiet closeness of the observation of the forest leaves much much to be respected.


Some Day’s Sunshine

Sitting in the sunshine at Whitby’s Cafe and Bookstore in waterfront White Rock is just one of those moments. Across sparkling Boundary Bay sits Birch Head as the old timers call it Birch Point for those who come at a land perspective. And amazingly enough rising gently in the fog and haze of the day is Mt Constitution on Orcas Island.

Having an 84 yr old dentist in my web design class has given me a perspective on the community. Knowing many of the people for whom the streets are named is only part of the story.

In 1922 an Irish immigrant was offered a job in the White Rock sawmill. Little did he know that the planer-man who he was replacing was only off temporarily. Six months later he was again looking for work. Such are the vagaries of the roaring twenties.

And then later in the day an article in the local paper caught my attention. Talking about historical walking tours. It specifically mentioned the street we are on – the old houses. And suddenly the discussion about the sawdust pile that the house is built on took on a whole new sense. A long connection.

Suddenly I could hear the cries of the stevedores and lumberman. The cry of the saw and planer. The smell of fresh cut cedar and pine. And the sunshine brought home the joy of life.


Salish Sea

I first came across this term as I started writing this journal and puzzled I made a note to explore it further to understand what it is and where the term comes from.

Wikipedia gives us our first clues. An ancient name for the area stretching from the south of Puget Sound WA to the top of Johnstone Straits in BC, this is a geographic watershed name. A large estuarial sea vastly changed each day by the tremendous volumes of water that flow through the region each day.

Exploring the origin of the name is fascinating to say the least. This account will almost certainly be corrected as I spend more time in the area. But this is what I know now. The term comes from an aboriginal language family originally identified in Montana. The term is commonly applied to a group of languages (about 12) referred to as Coast Salish. These are the original inhabitants of the area. In digging around I found an excellent map of Indian villages that reflects many of the “best” places to live today.

Amazing how a little question can lead to all sorts of interesting information and history.


Dall’s Porpoise

“Lips like a moose” used to tease one of my classmates of girls with big lips. Dall’s porpoise have lips like that. It has a tiny head with a great big body with a little triangular dorsal fin. Like the orca it’s body is black and white with several different morph’s.

Amazingly it is possible for Dall’s porpoises to interbreed with Harbor porpoise. There is a great deal of overlap in range with the harbor porpoise in the Pacific. But this animal isn’t found in the Atlantic.

Easily recognized by the “rooster tail” that the dorsal creates as it shoots to the top of the water, the Dall’s porpoise is colorful and a joy to watch as you paddle or sail through the islands.