Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Washington state

Working Boats

WA Ferry - The Issaquah - Mt. Baker

A Washington State Ferry plying between the San Juan Islands and Anacortes with Mt. Baker in Background

Working boats are those that haul our freight, catch our fish, transport us where bridges don’t go, and rescue us when we are either unlucky or foolhardy at sea. These are hard working craft with hard working captains and crews.

Pleasure boats are often elegant and great for sport. We’ve all seen the graceful sailboats with their colorful billowing spinnakers and sailors’ hair blowing in the breeze. And then there are the really big giant multimillion dollar yachts that for many of us elicit varying parts of envy and repugnance. I believe that far too little attention is paid to the real boating troopers who toil daily in all kinds of tides and weather. In this photo diary I highlight these intrepid mules of the waterways. No fair weather sailors here.  

I live on a bay at the edge of the Salish Sea. We have a wonderful harbor that moors both pleasure craft and working boats, including a sizeable fishing fleet that fishes both locally and in the waters of Alaska.

Most of these photos are taken on or around Bellingham Bay including Squalicum and Fairhaven Harbors. A few photos are from the nearby San Juan Islands and the Northern Puget Sound, all parts of the Salish Sea. Some boats are at dock while others are underway carrying out their various nautical occupations.

Ice Age Floods, The Columbia Plateau, and Terroir


Some of the largest cataclysmic geologic events on earth occurred in what is now the Pacific North West. About 11 million years of volcanic flow activity, ending about 6 million years ago, created the Columbia Plateau with basaltic lava formations up to two miles deep. This huge basaltic plateau covering much of Eastern Washington and Oregon and adjacent parts of Idaho was later inundated by massive Ice Age floods ending about 15,000 calendar years ago. The scale of these events has been seldom seen elsewhere as it carved a landscape that appears œother worldly. (In fact, the resulting terrain so closely matches that seen on Mars that NASA tested the Sojourner robotic rover here before its 1997 mission to Mars.


                                                                Scablands from basalt and flooding


                         The Columbia River continues to cut into basalt

As many as 100 floods deposited layers of sediment atop the basalt that today provide the soil for growing some of the best wine grapes and hence wines in the country and in some cases, the world. These are the wines of Oregon and Washington State.