A Trip to Yellow Island with The Nature Conservancy

Sunday was spent driving, boating and walking onto a privately-owned island that few have ever explored. The Nature Conservancy of Washington guided it’s members out to Yellow Island, a small islet southwest of Orcas Island. Leaving Anacortes on a chartered boat, we cut over the calm chilled green waters of a north Puget Sound swirling under sharp blue skies. With Mt. Baker and the Cascades brooding with white summits, the twin 80hp engines sped us into the passages where ferries filled with tourists criss-crossed through the San Juan Islands.

Yellow Island is an 11-acre landmass with over 50 wild flowers bursting in spring air. Once we arrived on its pebbly shores, hummingbirds darted from blossom to blossom across the ancient prairie land. Before the arrival of Europeans, indigenous peoples settled the island and frequently burned the landscape to sustain its prairie land. Few of the original burn scars can be found on the oldest tree trunks. In 1979 the island was purchased by The Nature Conservancy and thus preserved as part of Washington State’s pristine environmental heritage.

A link to The Nature Conservancy’s Washington Nature blog:  Exploring the Gem of the San Juan Islands

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Leaving Anacortes, WA

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Ferries shuttling tourists through the San Juan Islands

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Yellow Island

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Burn scars to sustain the prairie landscape

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The Nature Conservancy scientist Paul answers questions by a TNC member

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An employee of TNC who has lived on and cared for Yellow Island for 17 years

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logo_blackTrajan

Comments

  1. There is so much beautiful light in your photos! I really enjoyed this post 🙂

  2. Beautiful pictures!

    —————
    http://travelingrockhopper.com

  3. I once spent five hours on Yellow Island photographing a wooden sail boat race that took place around it. At first I thought, “Five hours??” but in the end, it was still not enough time to enjoy the pure magic of that little lsland. It’s important to note you must obtain permission to visit and bring no food. Phil is the caretaker and I had the utmost honor to meet him. He told me once, “Monica — it is just me and the sea lions,” after I asked him what it is like to live here. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photography, loved seeing Phil again 🙂

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