Saturday, June 24, 2017

Conservation on Jones Island -- Wednesday June 21, 2017

Off the dock at Sucia at 7:15A, record time for me, but the marine forecast predicts winds 15 to 25 knots for the afternoon.  

It is sunny and 50 degrees when we get up at 5A and I tie the window curtains back to allow sunshine to warm the cabin.  But it gets in my eyes as I work in the galley.

We have an early breakfast, then cruise in swells as we go north of Orcas Island in Presidents Channel, then southwest between Orcas and Waldron.   

We also pass through tide rips, which are noted on the chart, and I can see some confused currents coming from different directions.

Out in the distance coming down Boundary Pass, which runs between the lower 48 of the United States and Canada, we see Vienna Wood, a 190 meter cargo ship traveling at 11.7 knots.

Willie’s Tug gets a 3 knot push from the current, giving us a speed of 9 knots and a possible early arrival time.

Our plan today is to cruise by Jones Island to see if there is space at the dock – and more importantly – Internet.  If not, we will continue on to another island.  

Yay!  Space at the dock.  One boater tells us he is about to leave and we can have his spot, but says the water is deeper on the west side of the dock and may be better for us.  Herb spins around for a starboard tie, which makes it easier to enter and exit the cockpit in this boat.  Arrival time is 9A.  Wow!  Short cruise!

Find Willie's Tug....

Around 10:30 in the morning it looks like the changing of the guard, with one or two boats leaving and more coming in to take their places.  Boats on mooring buoys come and go, as well.

In between catching lines for boats and helping others cast off, we check eMail and read the news. 

I love Jones Island.  The dock is new and modern with steel bull rails, making it much easier to tie up.  The ramp is in two sections, lessening the steepness at low tide.  We go ashore and up the hill to refresh our memories about where the trails are. 

Swimming all around the dock are moon jellies, looking to be about five inches in diameter, some clear and pulsating as if to catch their food, and others have a color in the center.  I wonder of the colorful sea creature is feeding. 

The Park Ranger docks behind our boat and tells me we may see some orange ones, which are called Lion’s Mane.  We don't see one here, so I borrow an image from the Internet.

Back to the boat for a sandwich, we decide we should walk one of the trails instead of taking a nap.

We choose the southwest loop and come upon the ‘flower of the day,’ a lovely orchid color, hiding among some dry blades of grass.  

First we walk the short distance to the other side of the island, then turn west to see where the trail goes.  It is not difficult, and narrows among low bushes, with a root here and there for easy footing.

Lovely scene at the south end of the island...lots of tall grasses swaying to the motion of the breeze.

Suddenly I stop and call to Herb, who is a few steps ahead, that I see where someone is trying to kill a tree!  They have ringed the bark all around it!  And it is a Doug Fir – one of my favorites!

Ahead he sees a sign about how the Garry Oaks are being protected and encouraged to thrive.  

The sign reads:

“You will notice a number of girdled (a ring of bark cut away) Douglas Fir trees on this island.  This is part of a long established Garry Oak restoration effort.

“The Garry Oak, a deciduous tree also known as the Oregon White Oak, is the only oak species native to northern Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

“Oak trees are an important part of the island ecosystems that are home to birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and numerous plant species.  In addition, acorns produced by the oak trees provide a food source for a variety of animals.

“The girdled Doug Fir trees will defoliate, allowing more sunlight for the Garry Oaks.  Over time, the standing dead Doug Firs will provide food and shelter for our native Pileated Woodpecker and other birds.”

Okay, I can accept this explanation.  My awesome dead Doug Firs provide a benefit, and the Garry Oaks can thrive.  Being very familiar with oaks in Louisiana and Texas, I get a good look at the leaves on the Garry -- yep, they look like oaks!

This particular one provides us with an interesting twist of one of the limbs, reaching out over the sea.

Continuing our walk, Herb provides a nice scene on a rocky point.  In the foreground to the left is a large hole, where small limbs and other brush collect as the wind blows.

I wonder if Jones Island will be as overrun with raccoons as James Island that we visited a few years ago.  We see several signs posted on the main trail warning of the animals and informing us that feeding the wildlife is prohibited.

Back to the boat we hear someone say Hello to Willie's Tug, and look out to see a couple with an unopened 3 liter Bota box of Malbec.  They tell us they will leave for Canada tomorrow and have the limit of alcohol allowed to take in.

Would we like to have the wine?

Well, yes!  Thank you very much.

The couple shows us their sailboat anchored on our starboard side, and we wave to them as they dingy back.

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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