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Rolling the Islands of the Salish Sea



Photo essay: Rolling the Islands of the Salish Sea: Poulsbo


Seattle to POULSBO (40km, 25mi) Take a ferry to Bainbridge Island and instantly find a more rural environment.
Points of interest: Bainbridge Island, Japanese-American family with 95 year history on the island, Suquamish Museum, Chief Seattle's grave, Norwegian town of Poulsbo.

  On board Washington State Ferry with Seattle skyline in the background Harbor Island Container Terminal, from Washington State Ferry, Elliott BayLeaving Seattle by ferry:  "Goodbye Emerald City, see you in two weeks."  Confirming its other reputation, Seattle was less than Emerald and produced some heavy gray skies for our departure.  The truth be told, this was the most threatening weather we saw in two weeks and it never didn't rain on tour.
  Alki Point Lighthouse and Mt Rainier, from Washington State Ferry, Elliott Bay Bicycling on Bainbridge lsland, WashingtonThere is something romantic about the cross Puget Sound by ferry. They magically transform your environment.  If you are coming from the city, they fetch you from the rumbling, gray canyons of concrete and deliver you to the tranquility, green canyons of nature.  If you are coming from the sedate natural side, they deliver your to the exciting and energetic city scene.
  So after a thirty minute ferry boat ride from Seattle you are in the forest and farmland of Bainbridge Island.  Bainbridge, named by 1841 surveyor, Captain Charles Wilkes, for the commander of the frigate Constitution during the War of 1812.  Another one of the otherwise forgotten, dead white men that dominate the place names of the area.
Port Blakely Cemetery
It is interesting how different the window on history is at the Port Blakely Cemetery.  To the extent that it is a view into past times, the sir names are a mix of Scandinavian, English, Chinese, Japanese, Hispanic, Germanic, French and more -- far more mixed than the areas place names.  There are a lots of unique grave stones and some very old ones as well.  Some of the stories are happier than others; people living well past eighty years old, then there are also the tragedies of infants who only lived a few days.  Distinctively, the Jewish graves are separated to one side. If there are ghost here they don't seem to be angry. The cemetery has a very calming feeling.
  Students in the organic garden at IslandwoodAround the corner is Islandwood, an environmental education center.  The buildings are made from recycled materials and designed to minimize energy consumption.  Students and adults participating on programs get to spend time at the organic garden (right), which is one of a half dozen unique outdoor learning sites.  Islandwood's efforts at sustainability are a stark contrast to snowballing consumption common elsewhere.
  bicycling across Agate Pass bridge To bicycle off Bainbridge Island you need to cross Agate Pass Bridge, which connects it with the Kitsap Peninsula.  When there is no traffic it is beautiful.  When there is traffic it is a little more hair raising because the shoulder is not wide, but the bridge is not very long, speed limit is slow and most of the traffic is courteous.
  Chief Sealth's Grave
Chief Sealth's Grave
Chief Sealth's GraveChief Sealth's Grave is in Suquamish, on the Port Madison Reservation.  Suquamish means "People on the clear salt water."  The Suquamish are the Salish group that his father was a member of and the chief for.  Carved poles and canoes make the structure surrounding the grave.  It had been vandalized a few years ago but thankfully has now been restored.
  Head stone at Chief Sealth's Grave
Head stone at Chief Sealth's Grave
Chief Sealth was the leader of both the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes.  He mother was a member of the Duwamish, who lived in the river valley south of Seattle.  Chief Sealth was considered a "Firm Friend of the Whites," and converted to Christianity.  He befriended Doc Maynard, an early white pioneer and persuaded him to persuade the initial pioneers to move their homestead from Alki Point across Elliott Bay to the present site of the city.  Doc Maynard wasChief Sealth's Grave also a promoter of the chief's name as the name of the city.

At Chief Sealth's grave is festooned with a fascinating array of gifts.  At the time of this visit the mementoes included:  an empty wine bottle, a calculator, a drawing of the Chief, bones, shells, a letter to him and other beverages. 

  Poulsbo main street
Poulsbo main street
Poulsbo is an Americanized Norwegian term.  The name was suggested in 1883 by settler I.B. Moe to honor a place near his home in Norway.  Poulsbo sits on Dogfish Bay.  Despite pleas of Poulsbo residents, the Legislature in 1893 and 1899 refused to change the official title of Dogfish Bay to Liberty Bay. The present name, Liberty Bay, was adopted through general usage.
  Long house, Tillicum Village, Blakey Island Drummer, Tillicum Village, Blakey Island Traditional Salish Salmon cooking, Tillicum Village, Blakey Island An alternative destination across Puget Sound from Seattle is Blake Island.  The island became a marine state park in 1959. In 1961, Seattle caterer William “Bill” Hewitt (1917-2002) came up with the idea of Tillicum Village, a tourist attraction to showcase Northwest Coast Indian arts, culture, and food on the island. Tillicum Village was built on 5 acres of the 475-acre state park. Hewitt built a giant cedar-lined longhouse with a restaurant, a performance area for Northwest Indian dancing, and a gift shop, on the northeast side of the island. Since the village was only accessible by boat, Hewitt also built a 324-foot public pier with a 180 foot float. The venue opened in 1962, during the Seattle World Fair.  In November 1993 "summit" of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference (APEC) met here.  There continues to be a couple meal/shows a day in the summer.

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