Okay a day late and a dollar short. But what kind of blog about the San Juans could not mention pirates day?
Okay so we didn’t have Morgan or some of the other greats. But we did have our characters.
In Bellingham in Fairhaven there is a statue dedicated to the fond memory of Dirty Dan Harris. Now there are dry academic approachs to Dirty Dan and his exploits but there are the myths and legends too. After having his rowboat taken by folks from Point Roberts and being left on Sucia Island – marooning in pirate terms – Dan made a log raft and let the tide carry him back into Bellingham. Soon back in business, he laid a wee trap for the protagonists. Mixing a few kegs of whisky with raw sewage, when he was hijacked again, the perpetrators were so ill from consuming their booty they never bothered him again.
More importantly to mariners are the tales of Dan’s incredible knowledge and use of tides. He rowed out to an ebb tide and his boat was carried across the straits from Bellingham to Victoria. Sitting out the next tide cycle while his boat was loaded, he rode the returning flood tide back to Bellingham. He often completed the round trip in less than 36 hours. Something to think about in these times of rising fuel prices!
Many of the reports of Dan talk about him as a developer which may or may not be true. He certainly had a profound impact on the community he lived in. Today he lives on in the historical reconstruction and tourism attraction for the tiny community.