Creative photos and essays from the San Juan Islands


Rare experience these days

Rare experience these days

Back in the last three decades of the last century, one could find oneself complaining about all the noise at South Beach as dozens of boats, seiners like this one, would be just offshore working the salmon runs common at that time off the south end of San Juan Island.

And in the early part of the century, the area was a beehive of activity as the salmon traps, made up of huge quantities of pilings, were installed, worked during the summer, then dismantled in the late fall so they wouldn’t be damaged by the winter storms and wood boring worms. I’ve seen photos from that latter era with pilings out to the present buoy, but the reality must have been amazing in its seasonal coming and going.

The reason this photo is rare is that for the last decade or so there haven’t been ANY seiners working the salmon banks, as they are called. Like many ecosystems throughout the world, this one has apparently seen its day, possibly never to return, at least while man is around to deplete the resource.

Amazing the history this beach has seen. Nearly one hundred years before the salmon traps, American and British war ships were cruising the coast bruising for a fight.

Photo location: San juan Island, South Beach at the end of Pickett’s Lane within the National Historical Park. Photo taken Saturday, September 7th, 2013 In this scene, the boat appears a bit shimmery. This is due to the photo being an extreme telephoto shot and also because of the heat waves of air rising off the beach.


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