cruising through her stops in the San Juan Archipelago
with June Burn aboard.
Click image to enlarge.
photo from the Saltwater People Log collection.
At last, I am off to the biological station at Friday Harbor, where I shall be for six weeks reporting adventures in science, talks with scientists from all over the world.
|U of WA Oceanic Laboratories|
Friday Harbor, San Juan Archipelago.
Original photo dated August 1931.
From the archives of the Saltwater People Log
A little way out we cross a line of foam, on one side of which the water is blue and on the other brown. Heinie says it is where the muddy waters of the Nooksack come down and spread themselves thinly over the heavier saltwater. The eye can follow its course to the end, which is a definite line below Eliza Island. The boys say they have never seen the line quite so distinct before. In the brown water, it feels exactly like being on a river and one can almost feel the current washing the boat downstream!
When you are too tired to carry on; when you are lonely, depressed, or sad; when you want to feel the lift of ecstasy in your heart, get up at daylight, board the 7 o'clock boat and come out into the islands. It will recreate you. Even if you do not leave the boat, just the sting of salt air on your cheek will renew you. Bring along a heavy coat, for it is always cold on the water. Bring a hearty lunch, too, for you will not get to Friday Harbor until nearly 2 o'clock and there is not the time for dinner if you are to return on the same boat on which you came. You will get back home at 6 or 7 in the evening, tired, and rested if that makes sense. There are Sunday excursions now, but it is more fun to snatch a holiday out of an everyday week to come San Juandering.
The dark forms of the islands are blue against the horizon. they creep closer, loom up sheer and green at the bow of the boat and presently slide behind in leisurely fashion. Sedum, bright yellow on the gray rock cliffs, Madrona (Arbutus) trees shining, sleek against the slopes. Firs in erect military ranks marching up the slopes. Long curves of graveled bench sloping down into the water. Little nooks between the points of land to catch and hold the sunshine. A village now and then cuddled against the hills. Seven seagulls gone to sea on a plank––life flows by while one sits on an orange crate feeling as if the whole show were just for one's self. Oh, come to the islands for just one day! It costs 75 cents one way to Friday Harbor, or for 50 cents you can come part way, stopover at one of the radiant villages on Orcas, Sinclair, Shaw, or Lopez. (The Chick does not stop at Lopez but the ferry does, if you are leaving from Anacortes. Perhaps some of the other boats also stop.) On any one of a hundred beaches, you can build your fire. But always be sure to build below the highwater line so that the incoming tide will put out every vestige of your fire. Only very thoughtless persons build fires up against the banks, where it is exceedingly dangerous. There is an abundance of driftwood. Coffee can boil in five minutes. You can huddle around such gracious warmth to eat your sandwiches while you watch the flowing shadows on waters and slopes so beautiful that it takes years and years to realize their perfection. And, when the boat comes back on its return voyage, you can walk back to the village, get aboard, and go home along the way you came, trying your best to soak your memory in those vistas. To have a rich, full memory is the final best good, isn't it?
At 11 o'clock on Friday, June 27, there is a tide lower than it has been in many a year. The tide book gives it as a minus 3.3 which means that thirteen or fourteen feet of bluff and beach will be exposed below the highwater line. Tiny scarlet starfishes in clusters on the rocks will look like flowers, the bright green seaweed and algae, the foliage. Under every rock and stick, in the sand, everywhere there will be a wealth of life and movement. You will see animals and plants you never saw before and dine on steamed or roasted clams. Or, if you have sharp eyes, you can find deliciously sweet rock oysters on the rocks and feast on them.
Strangers from all over the world come to see these islands, these waters, to feel the thrill of travel on small boats whose decks are close to the blue water. Why shouldn't we have these adventures, too?
...We have left Deer Harbor behind and are crossing San Juan Channel now. Just around the next point, Friday Harbor will be in sight. And the biological station. See you tomorrow. June."
June Burn. Puget Soundings. 17 June 1930.