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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Vendovi Island

Last Saturday we took a San Juan Preservation Trust trip to Vendovi Island. This 217 acre island, which is part of the San Juan Archipelago but is actually in Skagit county, was acquired by the trust in 2010 and was in private ownership before that. Only two acres of it are developed and there are no deer there, so it's an amazingly intact habitat. To get there, we took a ferry to Anacortes, then got on a water taxi for a 40 minute ride to Vendovi. They dropped us off in North Cove:

Looking towards Lummi Island from North Cove

The island is open for public visitation during the summer months and a couple of lucky caretakers get to live in the house at North Cove during the season. There are a few other buildings here too, but as we started our one-mile hike towards Paintbrush Point, we quickly left any sign of habitation behind and entered the lush forest.

Vendovi is one of the island names that survives from the work of the Wilkes Expedition; the captain named this island after a Fijian chief he had taken prisoner, but who the crew grew fond of during the rest of their travels. Early in the last century the island was briefly both a religious retreat and a fox farm, but from the 1950s onwards it was in possession of the Fluke family (of Fluke Coroproation fame) until 2010.

We stopped for lunch at Paintbrush Point, where apparently the spring wildflower show rivals that of Yellow Island. There weren't any flowers on this day, but we were thankful for the warm sunshine after the day had dawned rainy and foggy.

Looking south towards Guemes Island from Paintbrush Point

After learning about the local history during lunch, we had some time to explore the island's beaches on our own before our return trip to Anacortes. We headed over to Sunset Beach where I was keen to check out the shell midden that is evidence of usage of this island of Coast Salish - notice all the white shells on the beach:

Here we found a few flowers - I think this is one of our species of searocket (Cakile sp.) still in bloom:

We didn't see much in the way of wildlife, but I did spot the largest land mammal of the island: a Douglas squirrel. We don't have tree squirrels on San Juan Island so it was a bit of a surprise!

I had been keen to check out this island ever since the Preservation Trust acquired it, so I was glad to get out there and especially happy the weather was so nice for our visit!


Vera said...

Really enjoyed reading about Vendovi Island. I'm glad you had good weather.

jill i said...

Oh I've wanted to visit Vendovi, have seen it from the southern end of Lummi and also Guemes on kayak trips. Interesting to learn a bit about it.