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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.

1940 ❖ RARE FOSSILS FOUND ON SUCIA ❖

Cappy Harnden,
TULIP KING
ON 228881
Excursion boat built by CAPPY

 on Sucia Island, WA.
From the archives of the S.P.H.S.©
"While gathering fossils on Sucia Island, Cappy Harnden and I found what we thought was a large shrimp. It measure four inches in diameter, came apart in layers and when put back together it very much resembled a large shrimp.
      While in Seattle, I took the fossil into Professor Kincaid's office at the U of WA. The professor took one look at it and pronounced it to be a Cephalopod. He then took down a book and turned to a perfect picture of the fossil. These, he said, are quite numerous on the California coast, and they get as large in some instances as an automobile wheel. Professor Kincaid said that years ago a professor from CA took a specimen of Cephalopoda to Germany to have it sketched and photographed, and it took a German artist three months to complete the job.
      Sucia Island, according to the professor, is the only place north of Southern CA where any Cephalopods have been found. Their habitat is the bottom of the ocean. Scientists as yet, have not determined the exact time when the San Juan Islands emerged from the sea, but they have traced them back to some time between 24 and 25 million years ago."
W. R. Giffen, Orcas Islander, August 1940
Geology of Sucia Island, WA.
original photo from the archives of S.P.H.S.©
Click to enlarge.
Captain William Harnden (1873-1962), who with his wife, make up the entire population of Sucia Island, made their livelihood chiefly by transporting tourist and picnic parties from Bellingham, Lummi and Orcas to the little "freak fossil island" in their fifty-passenger TULIP KING.
Seven years previous to the W. R. Giffin news article above, Giffin was writing about Cap finding a 20-inch diameter shell that he chiseled out of a bank on Sucia. It was filled with petrified rock and weighed 78 pounds. It went on exhibit at the East Sound Art Studio for a large number of island people and tourists to view.
Do you know of any photos of these fossils?


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