Originally Posted by kthoennes
I think that referee from France (oops, Germany) screwed the British in the Pig War settlement.
Well, he (Kaiser Wilhelm I) screwed us too. By making the San Juan island group part of the US he set the stage for the islands to become crowded, noisy, touristy, over-deveioped, water-starved, a political playpen for wealthy out-of-staters, snobbish, and ridiculously over-priced from hamburgers to real-estate.
We avoid like the plague places like Roche Harbor, Deer Harbor and Rosario which have come to embody everything I grew to hate about Hawaii albeit on a much smaller scale.
There are still some terrific destinations in the San Juans if you know where to look for them, partcularly in the fall, winter, and spring when the bozo boaters of summer have all gone back to their lairs.
But we don't think the San Juans hold a candle anymore to the Gulf Islands, and of course the farther north you go--- Desolation Sound, the jungles north of there up to Queen Charlotte Strait, the Broughtons, and on up the Inside Passage into SE Alaska--- the better it gets.
The first time it was driven home to us how rather sad the San Juans have become wasin the mid-90s at the end of a two-week June floatplane fishing and camping trip my wife and I had taken to SE Alaska and the BC Coast Range. It was an extremely rare day for this region in that it was sunny and clear the entire way down the coast from Petersburg, AK to Seattle.
The flight, for anyone who's never made it at an altitude of 1,000 feet or less, was absolutely spectacular all the way to about Nanaimo. Then as we approached the San Juans we got the the full impact of what they had become.
Here were these flat (compared to everything we'd just spent the last two weeks in) little islands, with houses all over the place and dry, brown clearings and a haze of smog hanging over the whole group. They were, in a word, pathetic compared to what we'd been flying through for the last eight hours or so.
We still really enjoy cruising the San Juans to our favorite destinations, particularly in the off-season. But that image from the floatplane on the way home from Alaska and BC that year has stayed with us ever since. Which is why, whenever we have the time, we head the boat across that floating yellow line down the middle of Boundary Pass into God's country which someoe decided to name British Columbia.
I hope teh folks there realize the huge favor the Kaiser did them all those years ago.