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Worldwide Top News
Last updated on: Fri, 10 Jan 2014
Google top news, Thu, 9 Jan 2014 Washington Post Gov. Christie fires aide, apologizes to New Jersey USA TODAY Gov. Chris Christie apologized Thursday for politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge that gridlocked a small town, as he announced he fired a top aide and severed ties with his campaign chief for their roles in the scandal. Bridget Kelly, David Wildstein, who had deep ties to Gov. Christie, unemployed ... New York Daily News Gov. Chris Christie bridge scandal prompts federal investigation, lawsuit Chicago Tribune Christie Flunks Crisis Management With I Am Not a Bully Quote Businessweek The Star-Ledger - NJ.com - New York Magazine - NorthJersey.com all 4,035 news articles »
Google top news, Thu, 9 Jan 2014 Dial 9 before 911? Hotel death prompts petition Seattle Post Intelligencer DALLAS (AP) — Hank Hunt's granddaughter tried calling 911 from the East Texas hotel room where she could hear her mother dying, just as she was taught to do in an emergency. She didn't know she had to dial 9 on the hotel phone first. "Papa," Hunt ... and more »
Google top news, Thu, 9 Jan 2014 CNN Knicks' Mike Woodson benches JR Smith, won't comment on it CNN Smith (right) is used to coming off the bench, but Woodson never called his name against the Heat. Bill Kostroun/AP. NEW YORK -- There is what it should have been and what it was, and the two didn't come close to matching up. The Knicks should have been ... NBA-New York's Smith sits as team mates beat the Heat Chicago Tribune D'Alessandro: JR Smith is benched and Knicks rise to the occasion The Star-Ledger - NJ.com Resurgent Knicks knock off Miami The Seattle Times New York Times - MiamiHerald.com - Newsday all 222 news articles »
Google top news, Thu, 9 Jan 2014 The Age South Sudan: new estimate puts death toll at 10000 The Age Escaping the fighting: Civilians fleeing violence in the Bor region cross the Nile River. Photo: AFP. Nairobi, Kenya: As fighting continued to rage across South Sudan on Thursday, a new estimate raised the death toll in the conflict significantly and a senior US ... UPDATE 2-US officials call for end to South Sudan violence, may cut aid Reuters S. Sudan army vow to recliam oil-rich town from rebels Sudan Tribune US presses sides in South Sudan to sign pact to cease hostilities South African Broadcasting Corporation Bloomberg - New York Times all 369 news articles »
Google top news, Thu, 9 Jan 2014 Financial Express Indian Diplomat Leaves US in Fraud Case That Fueled Tensions Businessweek An Indian national flag flies over India's consulate general building in New York. Photographer: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images. Devyani Khobragade, the Indian diplomat accused of visa fraud for allegedly underpaying her babysitter, left the U.S. after ... Maid claims she suffered while working for Devyani Khobragade Times of India Diplomat row: what happened in the last 48 hours Hindustan Times Indian diplomat indicted in United States on her way home CNN International Reuters UK - BBC News - Fox News all 559 news articles »
Google top news, Thu, 9 Jan 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Pentagon Says Snowden Took Most US Secrets Ever: Rogers Bloomberg The Pentagon concluded that Edward Snowden committed the biggest theft of U.S. secrets in history, downloading about 1.7 million intelligence files, including information that could put personnel in jeopardy, according to lawmakers. The Defense ... Snowden leaks severely hurt US security, two House members say Los Angeles Times The FBI's Comey On Snowden: 'Confused' By Hero Talk WYSO all 423 news articles »
Google top news, Thu, 9 Jan 2014 Boston Globe Sandra Bullock thanks Boston at People's Choice Awards Boston Globe Sandra Bullock was the belle of the ball at this week's People's Choice Awards, taking home four trophies, including favorite movie actress, dramatic actress, comedic actress, and sharing the movie duo award with her ''Gravity'' costar, George Clooney. At one ... Sandra Bullock sweeps People's Choice Awards Charleston Post Courier Jennifer Hudson Has Ex-Friend Lord Kraven Tossed Out Of People's Choice ... International Business Times Sandra Bullock takes little Louis to school hours after her triple success at the ... Daily Mail Atlanta Black Star - The Herald-Times (subscription) - Washington Post all 1,433 news articles »
Google top news, Thu, 9 Jan 2014 MiamiHerald.com Sailor missing after helicopter crash from Calif. San Francisco Chronicle VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A sailor who went missing after his Navy helicopter with five people aboard crashed in the ocean off the Virginia coast is a 39-year-old Naval pilot from Southern California. The Navy said in a statement that the missing pilot is Lt. Coast Guard says search called off for sailor missing in helicopter crash off Virginia Seattle Post Intelligencer Sailor missing after helicopter crash from Santee fox5sandiego.com Search called off for missing Sanger Navy crewman KFSN WSOC Charlotte - Military Times - USA TODAY all 909 news articles »
Google top news, Thu, 9 Jan 2014 New York Daily News Senate effort to extend jobless benefits collapses New York Daily News WASHINGTON — A near-deal in the U.S. Senate to extend expired federal unemployment benefits collapsed Thursday amid partisan bickering. The breakdown may doom efforts to restore support to 1.3 million Americans who lost unemployment aid when ... McCaskill, Blunt take opposing views to extending unemployment benefits Missourinet.com Reid blocks plans by Ayotte, other Republicans to pay for three-month extension ... NewHampshire.com Reid's Uncompromising Power Play in Senate Rankles Republicans New York Times The Herald-Times (subscription) - Grand Forks Herald - Las Vegas Review-Journal all 232 news articles »
Google top news, Thu, 9 Jan 2014 Afghanistan to free inmates Stuff.co.nz Afghanistan has enough evidence to try only 16 of 88 prisoners that the United States considers a threat to security and plans to free the remaining detainees, the president's spokesman said on Thursday. The move will further strain relations between the two ... and more »
News from Harper's Magazine
Last updated on HXM DATE
Headline news under the Taliban
Factional warfare in the Middle East, a politician under indictment for genocide seeks peace in South Sudan, and an embarrassment of coldness in Minnesota
On aging without dental insurance
One thing is for certain — I wouldn’t want to be a Christmas tree
Afghanistan fights fire with fire in its war against the Taliban
News from King 5 in Seattle
Last updated on HXM DATE
Arson investigators are looking for those responsible for a fire that destroyed a Burien theater last month. Several local groups used the building for plays and musicals. The young actors have now found another place to perform.
The owner of Seattle's Cupcake Royale confirmed Thursday that she has applied for a license to sell marijuana. Owner Jody Hall stressed that if the license is approved "no marijuana or marijuana products will be sold at any Cupcake Royale stores."
Been through customs at Sea-Tac Airport recently? People always talk about the long lines. But what if you could clear customs on a self-serve basis? Now you can, for the most part.
Cancer patients need to have a lot of hope. For one Tacoma couple, hope came in the form of a wedding and a commitment to stand by each other.
A Bellevue police officer who was charged with DUI and reprimanded for an off-duty incident during a Seattle Seahawks game in 2012 has resigned.
One of the suspects in the 2006 murder of a Carnation family was back in court Thursday. Arguments had to do with another attempt of throwing out the death penalty.
This weekend 22-year-old Ashley Wagner will attempt to make her first Olympic team, as she competes in the U.S. Nationals. If she is successful, it will complete a journey that started nearly 20 years ago in Kitsap County.
A spokesman for Neighbours says surveillance video shows someone entering the bar during the New Year's Eve countdown and acting suspiciously. The popular nightclub has since increased security while police search for suspects.
Less than six weeks after Seattle made a resounding claim to NFC supremacy with a rout of New Orleans, the Seahawks and Saints collide again. Since that Dec. 2 matchup both teams have seen some of their definitions changed.
News from the Island Guardian.com
Last updated on Fri, 10 Jan 2014
Blogs about Friday Harbor
Last updated on Fri, 10 Jan 2014
2A Boys Basketball: Bearcats Hold Off Friday Harbor - Centralia Chronicle
2A Boys Basketball: Bearcats Hold Off Friday Harbor Centralia Chronicle YAKIMA — The Bearcats are suffering through a drought of point guards, but managed to make things work here Saturday in a 49-46 win over Friday Harbor in the Wilbur-Ellis SunDome Shootout. A few younger players got important minutes late in the game ...
Editorial: Too late to stop Friday Harbor customs house - The Seattle Times
Editorial: Too late to stop Friday Harbor customs house The Seattle Times Friday Harbor town officials have chosen, wisely, to stay out of this fight, other than to note that the lease complies with zoning rules. “The [t]own does not, and cannot, substitute its judgment for that of the property owner,” Mayor Carrie Lacher ...
WA Poet Laureate Comes to Friday Harbor - SanJuanIslander.com
WA Poet Laureate Comes to Friday Harbor SanJuanIslander.com Poetry fans are in for a treat when the 2012-2014 Washington State Poet Laureate comes to Friday Harbor at the end of the month. Kathleen Flenniken will be conducting a poetry workshop at the San Juan Island Library on January 29 at 6:00 p.m. in the ...
Pioneers back to winning ways against Friday Harbor - Bellingham Herald
Pioneers back to winning ways against Friday Harbor Bellingham Herald Nooksack Valley's girls' basketball didn't struggle despite playing two games in a span of less than 24 hours. The Pioneers took down Friday Harbor 42-23 on Saturday, Jan. 4, at Nooksack Valley High School. No player scored in double digits for the ...
Documentary film series begins Jan. 7 in Friday Harbor - SanJuanIslander.com
Documentary film series begins Jan. 7 in Friday Harbor SanJuanIslander.com Screenings of the documentary films shown last October at the Friday Harbor Film Festival will take place on the first and third Tuesdays from January through May in the San Juan Island Grange. The series begins January 7 with Smoking Fish (80 min.) ...
Sheriff: Contentious Christmas Eve traffic stop 'unfortunate,' but warranted - Islands' Weekly
Sheriff: Contentious Christmas Eve traffic stop 'unfortunate,' but warranted Islands' Weekly San Juan County's top law enforcement official issued a statement Tuesday defending his officers and department in the wake of a controversial traffic stop in downtown Friday Harbor on Christmas Eve. On that night, a San Juan Island man was pulled over ... and more »
Friday Harbor split over Customs office move - The Seattle Times
Friday Harbor split over Customs office move The Seattle Times A planned move by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to a prominent storefront on the busiest, most high-profile corner in downtown Friday Harbor has divided this small town, which prides itself on being a tourist-friendly destination. By Lornet Turnbull. Friday Harbor residents split over Customs office move Yakima Herald-Republic all 4 news articles »
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Chimacum battles, but falls to Friday Harbor - Peninsula Daily
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Chimacum battles, but falls to Friday Harbor Peninsula Daily PORT TOWNSEND — The Chimacum girls basketball team showed flashes of strong play but dropped the opening contest of the 2013 Crush in the Slush Tournament 47-37 to the Friday Harbor Wolverines. Friday Harbor led 8-4 after the first quarter when ... High School Report: Bainbridge rolls in San Diego, 70-15 Kitsap Sun all 10 news articles »
Larsen Seeks Answers on Customs Facility in Friday Harbor - SanJuanIslander.com
Larsen Seeks Answers on Customs Facility in Friday Harbor SanJuanIslander.com WASHINGTON—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, is seeking answers to questions that constituents have raised regarding the proposed location for a new Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facility in Friday Harbor . In a letter to General Services Administration and ...
A way out: 'win-win' for US Customs, Friday Harbor | Guest Column - Journal of the San Juan Islands
A way out: 'win-win' for US Customs, Friday Harbor | Guest Column Journal of the San Juan Islands Dear Secretary Jewell, Senator Murray, Senator Cantwell, and Representative Larsen, I am emailing to request that you consider establishing a coordinated public lands information and interpretive center in Friday Harbor . This facility could showcase ...
Blogs about San Juan Islands
Last updated on Fri, 10 Jan 2014
Mysterious creature in our midst - Journal of the San Juan Islands
Little is known about the vampire-esque creatures despite the fact that they are the oldest fish found in the Columbia River system, appearing in the fossil record 450 million years ago.
Doctor's daughter: 'Underpinning' a memoir - Journal of the San ...
Journal of the San Juan Islands . New mission, new manager, new $325K grant for derelict vessel removal program · Christmas Eve traffic stop? The driver's side | Opinion · Counterpoint: Duty to uphold the law, traffic laws, too | Letters · Time to ...
January 8 edition | Opinion - Journal of the San Juan Islands
Cartoon musings on local news and events are published periodically in the Journal of the San Juan Islands , and periodically on SanJuanJournal.com.
Time to mend some fences | Editorial - Journal of the San Juan Islands
This isn't the first time complaints have been voiced against the sheriff's department.
San Juan Islands Fishing Report (1-6-14)
by Kevin Klein, San Juan Islands Chapter-Puget Sound Anglers Fishing for Blackmouth has been very productive in the Islands. Salmon are being caught all.
Whale watching in San Juan Islands | United States Forum | Fodor's ...
Looking for good place to stay in San Juan Islands where we can set up for whale-watching from deck/balcony. I have found one place that seems suitable, but it's booked for our first choice week at end of September.
San Juans report: Paul Allen's island sold to space entrepreneur ...
It was reported a week ago that billionaire Paul Allen had sold his private island in the San Juans and now, The Journal of the San Juan Islands has posted on its website that the buyer is Eric Anderson, a space-travel ...
Resurrection Derby anglers brave arctic blast in San Juan Islands ...
While the majority of folks all across Puget Sound retreated to the warmer comforts of home, there was a big group of anglers who braved fierce freezing cold winds, unbearable temperatures and iced over boats decks all for ...
Crews find cut in communication line to San Juan Islands | The ...
CenturyLink says its crews have found the break in the more than two-mile-long underwater cable that supplies phone communications to the San Juan Islands . Though 911 and landline service has been restored, according ...
Severed from the Internet, San Juan Islands declare official state of ...
Residents wait outside the San Juan Island Library to get Internet access. (Library photo via San Juan Islander.) Some people voluntarily cut themselves of.
The Angel of Pole Pass
We left Jones Island with the start of the ebb on a calm, overcast morning and headed south-east toward our first way point at Steep Point on Orcas Island’s East side. I’d plotted our course through one of the San Juan Island’s most treacherous passages the day before. Our track was to take us into the middle of the labyrinthine Wasp Islands, through Harney Channel to East Sound in time for our dance. I’d cross-referenced Captain Jack’s and the Canadian Currant Atlas and, with a sharp pencil, drawn our course on the chart with the way points and estimated arrivals times. I was actually a bit proud of my fore-sight, and hoped it might inspire in Lily a greater trust in my navigational skill. Lily had given me a T-shirt that said sharp and focused. Maybe she thought it might help. When we reached Steep Point, the next way point appeared on the GPS screen directing us somewhere south-west into some nasty-looking rocks. Since our intended track was south-east, I knew something was wrong. Major anxiety set in. The ebb was taking us east past a small Island to starboard, while ahead a few miles, was a small opening toward which a sailboat was motoring. At Lily’s suggestion (she was remaining unusually calm in all this,) I followed. As we neared, the pass actually appeared smaller. A torrent of green water flowed over the jagged rocks to starboard, when suddenly I saw a woman in the cockpit of a C-Dory next to us beckoning with a reassuring look and a gentle movement of her arms. Samuel Lewis I’d gotten only a fleeting glimpse of her, but her radiant image will forever be etched in my memory. The waving motion with which she guided us rocked with her boat like a movements of a Sufi Zikr . It was an angelic vision guiding Old Hand’s errant crew through the twisted channels of the world toward salvation; to chasten pride of seamanship and forgetfulness of the true purpose of our voyag e-of which we might lose sight while navigating the labyrinthine island passes. Though our “navigation” of Pole Pass may have been unintentional, it reminded me of our deeper intention. After all, we are emissaries of the Dances of Universal Peace, come to bring the message of unity as taught by Hazrat Inyat Khan and Samuel Lewis -to bring the wisdom traditions of all faiths into full body awareness through the ancient tradition of sacred dance. Thank you bright Angel of Pole Pass. For you there shall always be an honored page in the tattered log of Old Hand.
The sky turns red/orange over the hills west of Fisherman Bay. I row out to the narrow finger of rock that protects the entrance, to photograph the rough-hewn, skeletal remains of reef-net boats along the shore. They say Reef-netting is one of the oldest forms of fishing. In ancient times, fishing was continuous with the sacred traditional ceremonies. These ceremonies were held with elaborate theatrics. The simple act of fishing was performed with a cherished respect for salmon spirit that ensured their annual return. Everyday life was interwoven with the sacred like the twisted, cedar bark nets they so cunningly wrought and watched over through the centuries. A reef-netter still floats by the western shore, its tall, stark ladder inverted upon the surface of the bay. The water’s surface is the boundary, the imaginal space between worlds of height and depth. The sinuous patterns that shimmer over it’s surface are reflected in the curvilinear shapes of Salish art. It evokes the intermediate realm of dreams and myth; a place not found among the mystic way points of GPS. It is where the first salmon people hied up the narrow channels with the flood and into human consciousness. On reef-netters, the watcher (in earliest times, the tribal chief) would ascend the rough, cedar ladder high above the bow and intone the quiet prayer honoring the annual return of the salmon. While rowing in, I seem to hear an old diesel engine that drums faintly over the the inland sea like the rhythm of the universal heartbeat. Or is it the spirits of dead fishermen still drumming over the waters? Welcome, Swimmers. Upon seeing the salmon enter the net below, the robed and cone-hatted watcher, stark against the red sky, sings to his mates below: Lift, lift. As one, the crew raises the net, the catch glistens in fading sunlight Welcome, Brothers. These old songs are sung in another place than that found on the yellowed, dog-eared charts of linear time. The primordial drama is still re-enacted upon the weathered scaffold of artifice in the winter dancing houses of ancient memory.
Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, WA
Giant yachts and a fun resort vibe. Roche Harbor was an interesting place. We anchored out in the spacious, yet incredibly crowded, harbor for a week. We hadn’t intended to stay so long, but some not-so-cute weather, anchoring convenience, and people watching made it hard to leave. Have you been looking for a good location for the next meet-up spot for you and your gaggle of mega-yachting friends? Well…Roche Harbor may be just the spot. Located on the Northern coast of San Juan Island, Roche Harbor is a popular destination as a summer cruising stop over. There is a tiny customs dock for travelers arriving from Canada, a nearby outdoor sculpture garden, a 20 minute shuttle to Friday Harbor, and a short ride to an alpaca farm (which had a one-week old baby…uggh). Nik and I enjoyed exploring the historic hotel and it’s many photos. We glanced at the aged lime kilns (Roche Harbor’s past money-maker) and played lively rounds of bocce ball. The ice cream was delicious and the food at the two casual restaurants was just so-so. This place had a pretty corporate vibe: all the employees wore matching khaki and polo shirt uniforms and the food at the two restaurants we tried only seemed differentiated by price. From the looks of it, most of the employees were college kids spending their summer working at the resort. Some were international, but many were from the island and working alongside their childhood friends. They lived in on-site housing and spent their summer scooping ice cream, working the fryer, assisting mega-yachters with their lines, gutting and cleaning the day’s catch for the anglers, and slinging cans at the grocery store. All while discussing the weekend’s party-lineup and what classes they’re taking in the fall. I can imagine this place has a lot of people on their bankroll. From event work at one of the many weddings in the gorgeous garden to the high-flow fuel pump, I think Roche Harbor has a lot to offer by way of jobs and cash for the island’s economy. I asked the fuel-dock clerk the amount of the highest fuel bill he’s seen this summer. He said $16,000….and they only filled HALF their tank. Yep. Roche Harbor is an unusual beast and a window into a world I had only gagged about. Here are some photos of our time there: Upon further exploration, we were disappointed to find that “pool tennis” was actually two facilities and not a fun aquatic game we hadn’t heard of. The historic Hotel De Haro, built in 1886, in charming and filled with interesting old photographs. We noticed a fairly aggressive housing movement in the works. All the house plans were to be built to look similar to these. The street opposite was composed of vacant lots and stand-alone porches with signs saying “view from your future home.” The banister was wobbly on one of the porches. I wonder if they would have given me my own lot if I had fallen off? I let Nik win a couple rounds of bocce ball. Autumn is happening. This is an old lime kiln. Lime used to be Roche Harbor’s largest export. The entire island was logged to keep the kiln fires fed. The photos of clear-cut hillsides showed a very different scene from the lushness we see today. Our future yacht? Nik likes it, but I’m still on the fence. I think something bigger you know? -Something we can grow into. Or maybe one of these. I LOVE this orange seaplane! The seaplanes had to thread through all the boats in this popular anchorage. I liked taking pictures of the plane while passengers were taking photos of us. This was the biggest yacht we’ve seen to date. It had it’s own helicopter! It name is Evviva and, upon googling it, I found that it is 163 feet long and kinda fancy. Yachts! Yachts! Yachts! We took a walk down a lovely trail next to the small Roche Harbor airport and paused to photograph the flighty action. Nik is fun and exciting. This thing was weird. Maybe a cocoon? It was about 5 inches long. This thing was super freaky! Doesn’t it look like an arm?! We think it might be a caterpillar lair. Nik claims to have seen some crawling about. I did not get close enough to verify. Nik is scared. Close-up shot. Eww. We aren’t sure what type of berries these are, but we ate some. They look like the blackberries we have at home, but their leaves and taste are different. We also took a wonderful walk along Westcott Bay. This photo could easily be a scene from West Sonoma County! So pleasant. Another highlight was visiting Krystal Acres Alpaca farm, a twenty minute shuttle ride from Roche Harbor. This little guy was only a week old. He would walk toward the fence inquisitively and then sprint at full speed all around the yard. Adorable! Reminds me of my own mama. Next Up:
East Sound storm
Lily hurt her foot when we docked at East Sound for our dance. Then yesterday, a storm blew up from Southeast, blowing a good 35 knots with gusts to 40. Old Hand took a hammering at the public dock while Lily lay below getting seasick. But the local EMT team were there in no time to get her off the boat, up to the nearby Oddfellows Hall where we had a wonderful event despite Lily’s injury. It was a sweet circle praying for peace in this stormy world. document.createElement('video'); http://aviewfromoldhand.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/dance-storm.wmv
One Lost Wedding Ring and the Best Trip Ever
What is your favorite park? It is an impossible question… and one the kids get asked often. But, all the parks were established to preserve an incredible part of the country, and not just any place… but the highest! The deepest! The longest! The most! The best! There is something magical about all the parks. Something that transcends the efforts of getting there. We’ve now been to 27 National Parks; we’ve spent the night in a tent, hiked a few trails, gotten dirty, explored a wilderness, learned something new, and seen something amazing there. We’ve learned a lot about these parks, and we all have fond memories of each stop along our trips for unique and various reasons. So, how do you pick the very, very best? Your most favorite? How can you rank the dense wilderness of Sequoia against the vast sun-beaten grasslands of the Badlands? Can you even compare the alpine meadows of Glacier with the glow of an Arizona sunset on the walls of the Grand Canyon? Or choose a favorite between the Mammoth Hot Springs of Yellowstone or the Great Bat Caves of Carlsbad or the flowing Volcanoes of Hawaii? I don’t know that you can. We do each have a few favorites through. It’s like books. I don’t think I can pick my most favorite. But, I can pick my top three, hmm… or maybe I’d have to go with a top five. Either way, there are a handful of parks that I hold very near and dear to my heart, not just for their beauty, but for some of the experiences we’ve had there. Three of my most favorite are included in the Northwest Itinerary: Rainier, Olympic, and the Redwoods. So, although I can’t pick a favorite park, I think I can pick a favorite trip. Not only does the Northwest Itinerary include six incredible parks, but it also includes some other locations that make this itinerary special: the beautiful Lake Chelan, the pristine San Juan Islands, the culturally unique cities of Seattle and Portland, and the absolutely breathtaking Oregon coastline. Not to mention that in between stops, you are driving through some of the most magnificent and productive forests in the world. But every trip has its valley… even the Best One. I lost my wedding ring on this trip. It wasn’t a diamond or a family heirloom, thank goodness, but it was mine. It was a very simple, plain, white-gold band, the one I was married with, the one I’d been wearing all those years we struggled through the early part of my marriage, and through all the happy times we shared while watching our family grow. It was heartbreaking. I believe I lost it somewhere in our campground at Lake Chelan, and after hours and hours of looking for it, driving away was torture. But there’s more. That was also the summer that we were trying to keep a flailing business partnership afloat. I’m not sure if any of you have ever been through a business partnership “break-up,” but I think it may be as emotionally draining and devastating as divorce. You face some of the hardest issues among our personal relationships: the loss of loyalty, trust, and friendship. The stress level and phone calls were enough to make us all think about driving home early. I’m so glad we didn’t. There are always reasons not to go, not to plan, not to spend the money, or not to take the time. But, I’ve never yet felt that one of these trips wasn’t worth the effort or the sacrifice of being there, because this is the thing that is most important: the time with your family. Now it is three years later and when we look back, we don’t see the things that went wrong. We remember the great eagle that swooped over our dashboard while in the San Juan Islands. We remember how it felt to be standing under the powerful spray of Comet Falls after accomplishing a strenuous two mile hike up the foothills of Mt. Rainier to get there. We remember the first time we walked over the rim and gazed at Crater Lake. We remember our first Fourth of July in Bend, OR, a town we would come to call home. We remember the breathtaking views overlooking the Olympics Mountain range and the laughter of following the Twilight Trail in Forks. We remember that incredible Museum of Flight in Seattle. We remember the salt-water taffy in Seaside. We remember throwing ourselves down the great sand dunes of the Oregon coast. We remember our last hike of the trip, walking through a dense fog in the middle of the Redwood forest. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that we all have valleys in life, just like every trip will have it’s valley. Don’t let that stop you from taking them! And more importantly, don’t let it stop you from finishing them. Our first business disintegrated that summer, and I lost my wedding ring. But, we just deal with the difficult times knowing that it’s only a low point, and that we’ll hike out of it soon enough, and onto our next mountain. My brilliant husband has built up a better company and I’ve inherited a beautiful heirloom ring from my Great Grandmother. And, now that I look back, I kind of like the thought of my plain gold band buried somewhere near the shores of Lake Chelan. Maybe someday, some imaginative child will dig it up out of the mud and play a little game called “The One Ring.” One can only hope. Happy Autumn! ~Cassie
The Urchin Travel Wish List
Pack your toothbrush; we leave today! It’s the Urchin Travel Wish List! The Barossa Valley South Australia I watched the beginning of this advert, enraptured, several times before finally seeing the ending. I always assumed it was the trailer for a new film, the latest from Paul Thomas Anderson, perhaps, or selling a new model of Jeep. Imagine my surprise, however, to discover that such artistic cinematography and accompaniment had been utilised for a tourism advert. Cut to me immediately wanting to visit wherever on earth this happened to be and take up a life of living off the land (minus the consumption of animals and their bi-products, of course) and awaiting rolling thunderstorms. I’ll admit that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ ‘Red Right Hand’ holds much of the allure, followed by the flaxen wheat and the fantasy picnic dinner. Luckily for me, the Barossa Valley is a mere half day’s journey from Sydney, just outside the surprisingly lovely Adelaide. Just you want until the next bank holiday, Barossa Valley. Just you wait. Trip Skating Sweden Whoever knew this was a thing and didn’t tell me should be punished. Sweden, a country of peace and prosperity, is located in the far north, where, naturally, there is quite a lot of ice to be found. And what did these ingenious descendants of Vikings decide to do? Go ice skating. For long distances. Like a backpacking trip. On ice. You can go skating on lakes and rivers and long stretches of frozen coastline. And then when you’re done, you sit in a sauna and watch the Northern Lights. Who’s with me? The San Juan Islands Washington State I’ve been doing a lot of reading of orca captivity lately—you guessed it: you can expect on article about it on the Urchin Movement in the very near future—and, among other facts and revelations I’ve come across, I’ve realised that I’ve only seen an orca in captivity. One of the main points the public display industry trumpets is that facitilities like SeaWorld (arguably the industry’s largest and most successful example) and other aquariums educate the general public by giving them a chance to view these animals. In turn, they blast the activity of whale watching as an elitist activity, something that only people with money and the means to travel are able to do. Of course, SeaWorld facilities (thankfully) aren’t speckled throughout the country either, so if a family living in Rapid City, South Dakota, wanted to visit one of SeaWorld’s parks, they’d have to travel about 1,200 miles to San Antonio, Texas; the San Diego and Orlando locations are even farther. Furthermore, SeaWorld admission tickets don’t come cheap, either. So to that family in South Dakota, maybe you should think about doing what I want to do: plan a trip to the San Juan Islands, roughly the same distance in another direction. You can take whale watching tours, many of which have fares that run much cheaper than SeaWorld tickets, not to mention the fact that these tours are run by certified naturalists. Alternatively, viewing spots from the coast are free. But the bottom line is that you’d get to see orcas in their natural habitat, and what a beautiful thing that’d be.
Kayaking in the San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands lie in the Puget Sound of Washington, almost at the border of Canada. Twice this summer I got to sea kayak for 3 days in the islands. We camped on several islands and even spotted a few orcas across a channel from kayak! I was expecting the islands to be over run with tourists (kind of like Cape Cod) but it’s not at all! Sure there were a lot of people in Friday Harbor, but once we got on the water we had plenty of time away from the crowds. I wish we could have spent more nights camping out; I’d definitely like to go back next year for a more extended trip!
In the mid 70′s I had a studio in Eugene. Nearby was a pioneer cemetery where stood a tall, gray weathered tomb which housed an early patriarch of the Oregon Territory named Septembus Spencer. While I won’t deny my memory may embellish the facts, this outlandish moniker has stayed with me all these years. Now I find that one of Willamette valley venerable line of Spencers had made his way further north to this stormy spit on Lopez Island’s east shore. As though by a master sculptor’s hand, Equinoctial storms have carved cyphers into the rough stonework of the storehouse. Apples still fall from the trees he planted on the grassy knoll. Septembus comes from Septentrio, which is Latin for North. On this gravel spit formed with perfect symmetry by alternating currents are seen middens of a tribal fish camp that had been used for over 3,000 years. Though I bear no relation to the Eugene and Lopez Spencers, I find it strange to arrive at the most northern outpost of those Northwest settlers-that venerable line whose family tomb I saw in my earlier days. It is their most, so to speak, Septentrionic point. I take heart in knowing that the same northern, wayfaring spirit calling us toward these enchanted Isles inspired the peregrinations of T. W. Spencer-that the same pole star he set his course by is the way point toward which Old Hand shapes her course. I was taught by a Cowlitz elder that the cardinal directions are more than physical points on the compass, but spiritual states which must be embarked upon with full awareness of all their various qualities. Black Elk once said the center of the world was Harney (was this the same hawkish general who tried to incite war with England over a dead pig?) Peak in South Dakota. Black Elk went on to add that the center is everywhere. It’s the same awareness that lead Jesus to sing to his round-dance on his crucifixion eve: “The universe is inside the dancer.” The tide flows into the lagoon at full flood like the rushing green flow of the Willamette River by which I sat staring so long that, when I rose, the solid banks seemed to move with the same fluid motion as the water. The sacred land is everywhere-is already won. It is somewhere in Harney Channel (Harney again!) The Center is in the old Odd fellows Hall on Orcas Island where we hold our Dance of Universal Peace on this Sunday. The universe revolves around Old Hand’s keel as we voyage to the spiritual state of North ; to honor the wisdom teachings of all faiths that ever points us toward the true polestar.
Old Hand's voyage to the San Juans 3
British Columbia is Full of Beauty Through Wilderness Ventures' Lense
Our neighbors to the north welcomed students this past summer and it was an idyllic vacation up in British Columbia . The students did everything that you could dream up in term of nature exploration. They got to kayak through the San Juan Islands along the Puget Sound. You cannot go to Canada without some skiing. Whistler Blackcomb Glacier had some great conditions even for the summer. Took some time to do a mountain bike course to get some quick lessons before going to do some more difficult ones later near Whistler Resort. Did a bit of sightseeing in Vancouver and they really got a kick out of the attractions. Heading up face of the The Stawamus Chief. They did an amazing job when some of them were quite new. It was an amazing trip for sure and we can’t wait until next year.
Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside
I don’t know what it is about small spaces that pulls children inside, ready to play, hide or
Spotted: Offshore Offroad
Being at sea doesn’t mean you have to give up on off-road fun. This boat we spotted in Friday Harbor had their knobby-tired scooter strapped to their stern. Of course there are other ship-to-shore options. A boat we spotted in Roche Harbor brought along its own helicopter.
Globe-trotting cyclist's take on San Pedro: Not cheap
Frank E. Briscoe, the “old guy on a bicycle,” told us a bit about his bicycling adventur
Pop-Up Print Shop, Orcas Island
If you happen to be on Orcas Island in the San Juans this week, check out Pop-Up Print Shop . It’s a pop-up silkscreen shop that sells t-shirts and prints on paper. Most of the designs are mash-ups of vintage, royalty-free, line art. It’s good stuff and the shop is only open another week. Pop-Up Print Shop, 109 North Beach Rd., Eastsound, Washington
I was going to call this post “Killer Whales are Killer Wailers” and talk about their systems of hunting but then I just couldn’t do it. But real quick, these whales (southern residents) do make a lot of noise while hunting because they find and catch fish with sound (fish aren’t good listeners apparently, never learned that skill in Kindergarten). Mammal-eating whales are silent as they hunt, potentially coordinating using their saddle patches and eye spots as visual clues to their pod-mates’ movements. Okay, but back to the title of the post: southern residents are organized roughly along matrilineal lines. That means that most groups are composed of mothers and their offspring, whether male or female. It’s fascinating listening to the researchers here, because according to them, the big males with their tall dorsal fins and wide pectorals are fairly useless at feeding themselves. The older females keep them around and help them sate their bigger appetites, in the hopes that their sons will then procreate and pass the mothers’ genes on indirectly. Sort of like lions? Sort of like humans? Males whose mothers have died are sometimes taken on by other groups (or tag along, I’m not sure which). We’re hoping for the successful reattachment of a few of the big males to new groups of females, because there aren’t too many mature males left. They eat more, so when fish are scarce they’re the first ones to bite the metaphorical dust. Here’s Holly Fearnbach, one of the researchers I’m working with. She’s that tiny dot hanging out of the side of the helicopter, strapped in with a construction harness and taking aerial photos of the whales to determine, basically, how fat they are this year. (They told us we were looking good on the boat from above… with only a few snarky comments on our relative widths and potential “peanut-headed” status. A peanut-headed whale is unhappily skinny- they ought to be sleek and fat all down their bodies.) Hopefully if we find evidence that the endangered Southern Residents are getting skinny, we might be able to convince interest groups to stop people from taking so much of their food source. Having watched the fishing boats seining for the past few days and hauling in nets of salmon, I’m not sure how they’d up the protection on Chinooks without impacting fishermen to the point of bankruptcy- I don’t understand how they could exclude the big (and tasty) fish while still catching enough of the small ones to make it worth their while. It’s not an easy problem, but it would be better to start fighting for the whales’ food now… Also, helicopters are neat. Finally for today, I know some of you have been reading along in the hopes of super cool leaping whale shots- I don’t blame you. But because I’m on a boat that is permitted to approach the whales pretty much as close as we need to get, it would be unchivalrous of me to use photos taken within the 200m permitted range for my own personal amusement and profit (aka this blog and my facebook page). I definitely super don’t want to get anyone in trouble or mess up anyone’s research or step on any toes, so all the whale photos I post on this blog will be fairly far away. THAT BEING SAID, some of my photos may go up on the Center for Whale Research’s website, http://www.whaleresearch.com . I highly recommend it- the people at the Center are constantly updating with whale encounters, awesome whale photos, and pages of ID guides and info on these animals. I personally think a membership to the website is worthwhile as well, and I can guarantee the proceeds from the memberships are well-used here. I’m going to go try to photo-ID some more whale photos now. It’s getting slightly easier, but I’m nowhere near good enough to figure them out on the water. I’ve picked a few favorites that I’ll hopefully be able to spot next time we go out- stay posted for their stories!
The Basics of Ham Radio
Today I continue the conversation with George Ure of Urban Survival as he shares his thoughts on the
Weekly Photography Challenge: Sea
Photographing Your Art Workshop on Orcas Island in September
September 28 , 10:00 am-6:00 pm at the Orcas Island Library . (c) Mark Gardner The San Juan County Arts Council (SJCAC) is sponsoring a workshop “Photographing Your Art” on September 28 , taught by professional photographer, Mark Gardner. The workshop will be from 10:00 am-6:00 pm on Orcas Island at the Orcas Island Library . Fee is $50 for the full day workshop. The objective of the workshop is for artists to learn how to create the best possible images of their art. The workshop will cover three major topics: Capturing your image, Organizing your images and Output (file size, copyrights, providing your files for shows, editors, prints, etc). Learning techniques to photograph art to achieve the best image with regard to color, clarity and dimension is relevant to all artists desiring to develop or upgrade their website or marketing and information pieces, such as business cards and brochures; to artists competing for acceptance into art shows where decisions are made based on photos of their art; and to artists desiring to have images of their work included in publications. Mark Gardner has been creating art from life with photography since 1994. He is a full-service provider of studio and location photography for families, individuals, businesses and publications. He combines passion, artistic expression and technical skill to create his images. In his professional work, Mark primarily photographs people to create both traditional and lifestyle portraits for personal, editorial and commercial use. Mark also shoots fine art and craft, products, classic and sports cars, and architecture. In his personal work, Mark photographs landscapes, culture and wildlife, especially in the San Juan Islands, the Pacific Northwest or wherever his travels take him. Mark also loves to experiment in the digital dark room to make images that push the boundaries of traditional photography. Mark is based in the San Juan Islands in Washington State, where he has a fully equipped studio. He’s provided images for a myriad of clients ranging from family portraits to location images for resorts to studio shots for artists. He’s published a coffee-table book of images of the San Juan Islands, and a how-to book on outdoor and travel photography with Art Wolfe. These books and Mark’s fine art prints are available through his website: www.photographybymarkgardner.com . Mark also maintains a website that provides self-service, stock images of the San Juan Islands: www.imagesofthesanjuans.com . To print a registration form, click here . Questions, call 360 378-0951.
Eden and the cliff
As a rule, my day job is owned by proactivity, planning and efficiency. I am still learning to put the same practice together with this blog. Often, I build posts in my head, like this one. It is shamelessly back-posted about two weeks after my initial commitment to memory. Days before I headed out to Orcas, I was looking forward to a new volunteer project. I had arranged a work trade with the Doe Bay, which would provide three nights of camping in exchange for 12 hours (about two days) in their organic garden. Honestly, I chose Labor Day weekend because I wanted the richest learning experience. (I’d been to Doe Bay several times before–I knew I was also in for some straight R & R.) The morning before I left, my weekend away took on a whole new meaning. I learned earlier this spring that my dad had a common, but aggressive cancer. I was leveled, but I believed he would be OK. On Thursday, he told me the surgery he’d had a few months ago didn’t get it all. (In a coffee shop, not a greeting card this time.) I needed to recharge. Welcome to Eden Straight off the ferry, I jumped into the garden. I worked with three or four WWOOFers who were there for the summer. Together, we prepped and seeded a new bed in the garden. I pulled up weeds and sunk my hands into the fertile, fragrant soil and finished the day sowing it with lettuce seeds. Everyone worked almost in silence, which felt super uncomfortable at first. I later decided that part of this was probably politeness and part just people being at peace. I was supposed to camp in the field, but they had an open spot that night right on the water and offered it to me. There was a couple hanging out there well past check-out, in no hurry to leave (read: napping), so I waited until evening to set up shop. After filling my fingernails with dirt, I popped mt 2-man and tried to soak it all in. I had dinner in a quiet corner of the bar at the busy cafe, which sources almost all of its produce from the garden. I had packed a few meals, but everything seemed fake compared to food that had been grown just a few feet uphill. And … the carrot risotto. A deeper love for kale I started the morning plucking dewy pansies; learned about seed saving practices; picked tomatoes and thyme; and harvested and cleaned almost a quart of dinosaur kale seeds (!). This last task involved crushing dried kale plants to open the pods, sifting and re-sifting, and finally using the wind and a fan to gently but firmly blow away the germ and debris. I wasn’t thinking about my phone, checking my watch or worried about what I was missing. I was completely relaxed. It felt nice. I had put in a day and a half and the garden manager said I had served my time, though I would have been satisfied coming back for more. I had mapped out a run as well as a wish list of hikes, so I was also looking forward to a full Sunday. How not to go cliff diving Well. The Resort sold the camp site they reserved for me. “But,” the girl at the front desk said, I could camp in a spot on the cliff between two yurts. Long story short, one yurt dweller didn’t like the idea and complained to the management who had no idea I’d be placed there. They came by to politely ask me to move. At 8:15, just before dark. They didn’t know I’d just spent two days volunteering, that I wasn’t a rebel campsite thief, or that I hadn’t eaten since noon. They didn’t know that this weekend meant so much more than just a semi-free getaway. I felt unwanted and unwelcome, and jaded by the overflowing touristy feel I’d never experienced at Doe Bay before. I packed up my belongings and in the process, a little bit of my freedom rolled away. No, literally. My 3-season sleeping bag rolled down the cliff, bounced off the the rocks and splashed into the deep end of a cove. Rather than swan diving after it, I just decided to drive home, feeling defeated. I chugged a cup of ferry-issued coffee, had a private rave in my car to keep awake and arrived back in Seattle just shy of 2:00 a.m. Sunday. Runday Resilience The weekend wasn’t a total loss. I woke up and shook out my blue on a 13 mile run. When I finished, I looked down to find that I WAS SWEATING NEON YELLOW. I’m still not sure if this was a product of my vegan sunscreen, running sweaty through a heavily pollinated area or some disturbing super power. I hung out with a few friends in long lines before taking a very long, old lady nap. I went to the Fremont farmer’s market Sunday, this time strolling a little bit longer to soak it in. I brought home my usual basket of veggies, but this time with a renewed appreciation for all that it takes to grow them, and all that they bring me in return.