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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

15 October 2017

❖ OCTOBERS With June Burn ❖

Vancouver's Discovery of Puget Sound
Professor E.S. Meany

"October ain't like it u-sta be,' said the old fisherman, as he spat out his cabin window over the gunwhale of the boat. 'I cun remember falls in Puget Sound as warm and fair as June. The winds u-sta hold off longer and the winters were milder. I reckon it's cuttin' the timber that makes the difference.' 
      Which is how I came to be digging into Vancouver's diary to find out how the Octobers were behaving back in 1792. Just [225] years ago this month, Vancouver was getting ready to leave Puget Sound, where he had spent the summer of 1792 exploring 'this pleasant land.'
      In his interesting journal, so carefully kept, he says: 'The very unsettled state of the weather much retarded our reequipment and the appearance of winter having already commenced indicated the whole year to be divided here into two seasons only. The month of September had been delightfully pleasant and the same sort of weather, with little interruption, had prevailed ever since the arrival of Senor Quadra in the spring; during which period of settled weather the day was always attended with a refreshing gale from the ocean and a gentle breeze prevailed through the night from the land, which not only renders the climate of this country extremely pleasant, but the access and egress to and from its ports very easy and commodious.'
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It was on 12 October 1792, that Capt. Vancouver, with his fleet of three vessels––Discovery, Chatham, and Daedalus sailed out of Nootka Sound and headed for the Spanish ports in California. On the way, the Daedalus was to stop and survey Grays Harbor, and the Chatham the Columbia River. From Vancouver's Discovery of Puget Sound, by Prof. Meany, of the U of WA. A fascinating book. 
      It was in October 1846 that the discussion over the boundary line between the U.S. and Canada first began when certain British subjects desired to settle on San Juan Island. 
      But it was not until October 1872––twenty-six years later that the matter was settled by arbitration, the German Kaiser Wilhelm I decided that the International Boundary line should run through the Canal de Haro instead of through Rosario Straits.
      And it was in October 1904 that monuments were erected on San Juan Island [Washington State] in the memory of the American and English Camps which had enjoyed themselves so much during the mild dispute. These tablets may still be seen.
      October is perhaps the finest month of the year, anyhow. A month of color and zest and new beginnings. Or new endings. A month of big winds and blowing rains. A month to sit beside fires and tell fishing stories. Any excuse to get out into the colorful woods will do in October.
      In Puget Sound October brings color, but the evergreens keep things lively and fresh so that no one has any excuse to be 'blue.' Things are forever beginning in this land of green delight."  Burn, June.  Published in October 1929 for Puget Soundings by the former San Juan County homesteader, journalist, and author of Living High



      

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