Blogs and News about Lopez Island of the San Juan Islands, Washington State.

Last updated on Fri, 10 Jan 2014

Patrick and his King Salmon that he caught, cleaned and cooked “Quest for Fire” is a 1981 film thatAimee’s Dahlia Flower Isn’t this a beautiful flower? Isn’t it a marvel of technolo

Lopez island Volleyball team has been ranked in the top ten for the 1B league, and it feels amazing to be number 10. We have worked very hard this season to stay at the top of our league and remain league champions, and so far it has payed of and has gotten us a spot in the top ten 1B of our state in the Seattle times. Our team could never be any happier, and we are looking forward to going to districts and securing a spot at state.

Top Ten

Steve and Molly’s Rowboat

So far everything has been going good for us Lady Lobos. On Friday the 28th we defeated grace who were at the top of our league, but we defeated them 3-0, we played with such intensity, and spiked the balls with great force, everyone tried their hardest. Bumping, setting, and spiking, we were setting it up every time we had the chance and had some of the best plays so far. On Tuesday, October 2nd we played Providence Christian and beat them 3-0, again keeping the title of undefeated to ourselves. This season has been going great, and we are only improving. We look forward to going to districts and hopefully to state.

Washington Ferry at Night Ferryboats have been active on Puget Sound since 1889. The City of SeattleOrder of the Garter Weddings are a ritual. At a wedding, two people who love each other publicly comKelp and a Floating Log I view this photograph as a metaphor for my visit to Lopez Island. I felt li

This year my team started out strong, playing Friday and stealing a win,3-1 against Cedar Park, we got our first game jitters out and played with great intensity,we made a few mistakes a long the way, but that only made us want to improve.  Our next game was against skykomish, with a win of 3-0, it was a great game. The third game was against Shoreline Christian who are a 2B school. They got the win 3-0, but we played our hearts out, and had some amazing plays. All games were close, only beating us by a couple of points.  This loss didn’t affect our goal to become league champs for the 3rd year in a row, which is what we are striving for. Last game we played was a friendly game against Orcas, unfortunately we lost, but it was full of great plays and amazing safes.

Summer youth success with Lopez Island Conservation Corps

September 17, 2012 · Updated 1:43 PM


Lopez Island Conservation Corps Program Leaders Amanda Wedow and Charlie Behnke are proud to announce that “LICC has just completed their most successful and productive summer youth season on record, with 13 youth participants working an estimated six miles of trail and logging more than 700 youth service hours!”

The youth spent nine weeks working hard, learning and exploring public lands in San Juan County.

This season LICC was contracted by Bureau of Land Management and Friends of the LIFE trail to perform extensive trail building, maintenance, and environmental education on south Lopez BLM sites, Patos Island and the LIFE trail.

BLM’s Recreation Manager Nick Teague was pleased to see the crews work.

“I am just blown away by the amount and quality of work the LICC crew has accomplished this season; y’all are a priceless asset to these public lands and the community,” he said.

LICC received special funding from BLM this season to integrate more environmental education and skill-building opportunities into the program. Time was set aside each crew day for lessons including sustainable trail design, Leave No Trace/Tread Lightly ethics, tool maintenance and sharpening, using a compass, knot tying, natural history of local flora and fauna, geology, hydrology, and more.

“It’s great to see the program growing and developing in new ways,” Behnke said. “I am especially excited about the educational portion. In the future I hope to incorporate a diversity of local experts to share their knowledge and skills with these youth.”

This year has been a momentous year for LICC, said Wedow.

“We obtained 501(c)3 nonprofit status making us eligible for many more grants and tax deductible donations (wink-wink), we helped to establish San Juan Island Conservation Corps who had a terrific first season, a van was donated to LICC by the Loyd family, the second annual Procession of the Species Celebration last April was a magnificent success, and then to have such a strong season; go LICC go,” she added.

Keep your eyes out for LICC monthly projects and learning opportunities throughout fall, winter and spring.  For more information contact or visit

City Fish Market – Pikes Market Our first night on Lopez coincided with the rehearsal dinner.Our Hosts – Steven and Molly While we were on Lopez, we stayed with Steven and Molly. Their so

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I’m not sure why I am so attracted to water sports when I can’t even swim (it’s been on my to-do list since 1999). I tried kayaking for the first time and took a tour of the San Juan Islands with Outdoor Adventures on Lopez Island. It was an adventure that almost never was.

My friend and I ran late so as soon as we got to Anacortes and parked I literally rushed to the ticket booth to purchase our tickets, rolled our bikes onto the ferry and set sail two minutes shortly after. Once we got onto the Island and started our bike trip, my bike chain fell off twice, TWICE! The bike chain issue really put us back a few minutes, then I felt sick and had to sit down, setting us back again! We didn’t think that the kayak trip would happen after all, once we arrived the group had already started the orientation. Fortunately, we were able to get set up with all the gear and head out with the group. I was in complete disbelief that we actually made it! I am terrible at describing things, but kayaking around the islands was nothing short of amazing and reminded of Washington’s beauty; it seems endless.

Sometimes misfortune makes the end goal even sweeter.

It’s a good thing we had four crab in the freezer – Mud Bay wasn’t givin’ up the Dungeness like it did earlier this summer. We had an amazing fireside crab feed on Saturday night, followed by some flame-teasin’ marshmallow roasting. Our other notable activity this weekend was a trip to the Lopez Island transfer station, which is known for it’s “take it or leave it” flee market. We found five sheets of glass of various sizes that will be used in a future picture frame project. Oh, we played foos ball at The Galley, too.

An orca whale

Here are some more pictures from Lopez Island in Washington. We had such a fantastic week there.

Outstanding views

The Love Dog Cafe

Ferry dock at Anacortes

I got home after this amazing weekend away and was overwhelmed. I made a few stops on my way home for local produce – lamb and veggies at a farm stand on Lopez, berries from a farm stand in Mt. Vernon, and some raw dairy to test with my kids. I also found some amazing unpasteurized, organic miso that is aged in wood in the old-fashioned way called South River Sweet White Miso at a co-op in Everett. Score!

Lopez Island farm stand

mt. vernon farm stand

everett co-cop

By the time I got home it was 9pm Sunday evening and I was too tired to begin drying the seaweed so I put it in my garage to lay out in the morning. While seaweed doesn’t need to be washed before drying (evidently it is preferable not to), the nori I collected from the rocks on the beach had a lot of pebbles in it. So while I was waiting in line for the ferry, I set up a little washing station on the back of my car so I didn’t have to do it when I got home. Turns out seaweed is a great conversation starter when waiting several hours for a ferry (especially in the volume that I harvested!).

The easiest way to dry seaweed is to lay it out on a tarp in the sun for a few hours on a nice day. Unfortunately of me, it was a gray day on Bainbridge Monday morning as I started going through the seaweed. When I woke up I took out a tarp and rinsed it off and began sorting through all that I had foraged – 7 gallon ziplock bags of various seaweeds from the beach and 2 trash bags of kelp. I tried to put it in one layer and hoped it would dry out by the evening. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to leave the tarp on my back porch where I get the most sun overnight because of condensation.

Seaweed drying on a tarp

And this is where it gets real…the truth is that laying out the seaweed after a couple of days in a plastic bag in my car was a bit traumatic. The sugar kelp was especially slimy (think St. Bernard drool) and everything was starting to smell ripe. I didn’t let it deter me though! I shot off a quick email to Jennifer triple checking I didn’t have anything to worry about and pushed through the gag reflex as I pulled out pieces of seaweed and laid it out flat.

eww, slimy seaweed!

kiddo helping lay out seaweed

kelp drying on tarp

After 2 days most of the smaller pieces were dry but the kelp was still a bit slimy. On day 3 the sun finally came out and on Wednesday evening I was able to put most of it in ziplock bags to use later. The rest I placed in my garden to add some minerals to the soil when I eventually decide to plant something beautiful. I had more than enough seaweed to share with my garden.

I had intended to cut up the sugar kelp into thin strips before drying it, but it was just too slimy to handle it for very long. I really wanted to make sugar kelp noodles out of it, as my kids love buttered noodles and are fond of seaweed. Evidently the sugar kelp has a mild and slightly sweet flavor and is perfect for this treatment. Next time I harvest sugar kelp, I intend to cut it up when I get back to camp and start to dry it right away. I think that’ll help with the slime factor. This time I decided to put them out on the tarp to dry with everything else. Jennifer assured me I didn’t need to wash the slime off and that this whole thing really should be easy, so I just went with it.

Most of the fucus I used to make sea ‘cheetos’ as I dried everything else on the tarp. Jennifer mentioned that they make great chips when you sprinkle the seaweed with Parmesan cheese and cook it on a low temperature until it is crispy. When you are harvesting, make sure to look for focus that looks puffy vs flat – that will add some extra crunch when they are dried. I love Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale Chips so much, I used this knock-off recipe to make something similar and extra cheesy. I needed to ensure my family would eat these things after going to all this trouble!

Recipe: Seaweed cheetos

4 big handfuls of fucus seaweed separated into bit sized chunks
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup shredded raw milk cheddar cheese
1-2 tsp chipotle powder
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp coconut aminos or soy sauce
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced (omit for fodmap)

In a food processor, combine the cashews and chipotle and pulse until a powder consistency. Set aside in a bowl. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, coconut aminos, maple syrup, and garlic in the food processor to make a dressing. Pour dressing over the seaweed, making sure each piece is well coated. Sprinkle the cashews and cheese over the seaweed and mix until everything is evenly distributed. Spread the seaweed out in the dehydrator and dehydrate for 6-8 hours at 125 degrees. Seaweed should be crispy and very dry. Store in an airtight container for a week (if they last that long).

making seaweed cheetos

Chips ready to dehydrate

Finished seaweed cheesy chips

They turned out great – really flavorful and not ‘fishy’ at all. My son was a little leery of how they looked but my daughter gobbled them up. My husband took bags of these to work over a few days and really loved them. I definitely recommend making some kind of chips out of the fucus for snacking.  They won’t last long!

Once the seaweed dried, I decided to put it into my food processor to make a fine powder. Half I put in a mason jar in my pantry to sneak into food that I make – baked goods, marinades, granola, etc. The other half I mixed 50/50 with sea salt and left it out on my counter. My intention is to use this in everything we eat to get a steady supply of extra minerals and nutrients in our food. (Shh…don’t tell my family that I put a spoonful of seaweed in each of our condiments per Jennifer’s suggestion. They haven’t noticed yet!)

I also plan to buy some different kinds of seaweed to use in salads throughout the year. My kids like to see different textures and colors in our food and I think it’ll be fun for them to identify and try as many sea vegetables as we can. Three that I will try first are Arame, Dulse, and Kombu (great at making beans easier to digest).

At the campsite we harvested sea beans, which were a great addition to our menu. You can eat them raw – these little guys taste salty and have a great crunch! I put them in a stir fry or just snacked on them raw throughout the week. While at the campsite, we also made kelp and sea bean pickles following Sandoor Katz’s recipe from Wild Fermentation. I ended up with 6 pint and 1 quart sized jar of kelp pickles in various sizes to take home, which should go a long way in adding fermented veggies to my diet to help in my quest for improved digestion. They have been fermenting for 2 weeeks now, so I am going to open a batch to taste for seasoning and maybe add some vinegar or spices or caraway. I will move them to the fridge soon to slow down the fermentation.

sea beans

I hope this gives you a good idea of how easy it can be to harvest and prepare seaweed for your family. I highly recommend attending next year’s class. It was definitely the most nourishing thing I’ve done for myself in a long time (and I think it would be even more fun with a friend for those not so solitary types). I plan to return regularly to Lopez Island or maybe a day trip to Port Townsend for more seaweed and can’t wait to teach my kids what I learned. They are going to have a blast climbing on the rocks and giving the seaweed a sustainable haircut!

August on Lopez. Ahhhh.   We were able to get up to the island early on Friday, making it feel like a three-day weekend.  Activities included washers, beach picnics, bike races, crabbing, and some spying.  Mud Bay does not disappoint on the Dungeness crab front: we got four keepers on Sunday afternoon.  Henry and I also spent some quality time on the kayak – watching seals and exploring the east side of Lopez Sound. Can’t wait to go back.

On Thursday, July 9th, Nick Teague (Fearless BLM Ranger) and I met a group of 25 Senior Citizens at the Lopez dock for a day  trip to Patos Island. This event had been in the planning for months, ever since Nick had talked to the Seniors some time ago about the wonders of Patos Island back in the spring.

Gathering at the ferry landing

As the ferry docked on Orcas, we headed up to Brandt’s Landing, aka “The Ditch”, which was our departure point with Outer Island Expeditions. Unfortunately, one car seemed to be missing, so our trip planner drove out to look for it, something one must not do as it is similar to staying put when lost in the woods. Sure enough, the missing car and its passengers showed up and we were left sitting at the dock waiting for the now missing lead car! Since our time on the island was short anyway, the decision was made to take off for the 20 minute ride over to Patos Island.

Our captain drove around Alden Point for beautiful photographic views of the lighthouse and then we landed on Minnie’s Beach in Active Cove.

Lopez and San Juan Island Island Conservation Corps kids waving to us from the Lighthouse

We could see visitors at the lighthouse plus members of both the Lopez (LICC) and San Juan volunteer youth coprs who were camping out on Patos. Those seniors who were fit and nimble climbed off the boat and hustled up to the lighthouse. The slower people were helped up the trail by willing volunteers, some strong ones  from the youth group, and the lighthouse’s 2nd (or 10th?) hand wheelchair was put into service to help.

Our ever ready Lighthouse Docents, Barb and Buzz, were at the lighthouse, greeting visitors and telling the stories. Pictures were taken, views were marveled at and  some even made it down to the beach to gaze into tide pools.

Soon, too soon, it was time to return to the boat for the  return trip. We all ate our lunches onboard and when we returned to the Ditch there was our missing tour leader (with her husband who had stayed behind) looking red faced, but pleased that we had all thoroughly enjoyed our most memorable trip to Patos Island!

Leaving from Minnie’s Beach, Active Cove

This week we solidified the date for this year’s Rubbish Renewed Eco Fashion Show – December 6th!  With this in place, my trash-fashion-sense soared.  Suddenly surrounded by bicycle tubes, discarded zippers, old tape measures, and metal screen scraps . . . I can’t stop thinking about new designs.

Then today, in my inbox, I received an invite for a Trash-Fashion Show this Sunday in my old “home town,” Lopez Island.  Check out the poster.  Here’s to hoping some of you can make it,  but if not, I’ll post some inspirational photos next week.


Lopez Island is a role model in sustainability. Whether keeping items out of the landfill or recycle bin, enriching the community with local food, providing access to housing, or teaching students about sustainable farming, Lopez, you’re the best!