Photo: Ferdi Businger

Summer greetings from Vendovi Island!

With pleasant temperatures and cloudless, sunny skies, the past few weeks have been perfect for visiting Vendovi Island. We calculate that since May, over 900 people have ventured out to the island for recreational purposes. Visitors have come out solo, in pairs and in groups* to explore the island, picnic on Sunset Beach and hike out to the overlook at Paintbrush Point.

We’ve heard that visitors are also enjoying their chats with our resident caretakers, Heather and Shawn, who have the great fortune this summer to experience the wonders of Vendovi on a daily basis. Typical entries in Heather and Shawn’s daily journal include:

… We spotted a humpback near the entrance to the harbor on our way back from Bellingham. Yesterday we spotted a handful of small dead fish on the beach at Sunrise which we suspect might have been spawning smelt.

… Shawn went out in the dinghy to try to catch a pod of orcas traveling between Viti Rocks and Carter Point on Lummi.

…This morning my dad got this great picture of a garter snake.

Photo: Peter Bansmer

…We have an amazing display of blooming ocean spray throughout the island and the rein orchids are also blooming.

And another…

…I forgot to mention that we met a wonderful woman this week – Barbara Reid  came to see the island her late friend, Rachel Adams, worked to help preserve … Barbara entertained us with amazing stories of her adventures … she mentioned that she is spearheading a committee to install 3 memorials for Peter Puget on Blake Island, Cutts Island and Olympia. She has a blog for the project. What a wonderful and inspiring woman!

Other recent visitors to Vendovi have been doing more than chatting. Western Washington University students conducted a study of intertidal species, and students from the Northwest Indian College have conducted botanical research. We were blessed (once again) to welcome a crew of strong, hard-working youth from the Washington Conservation Corps to the island to relocate a trail-end away from a sensitive grassland area, and a second crew of wonderful all-purpose SJPT volunteers to do the thankless job of removing invasive plants, primarily holly and sweetbriar rose.

As to the care and maintenance of the non-native structures, our 2013 volunteer of the year Peter Willing continues to do a yeoman’s job of repairing, refurbishing and replacing the infrastructure around the house and outbuildings for safer, more efficient operation. (Until we know for a fact that we are able to retain ownership of Vendovi, none of the existing infrastructure will be removed.)

And speaking of retaining ownership of Vendovi, here’s a brief fundraising update: we’ve now raised $920,000 towards the $1.0 million challenge grant, but we must raise the remaining $80,000 by October 1. If we succeed with that goal, we will have:

  • met the $1 million challenge
  • decreased the balance on the bridge loan from its original $3.4 million to $1.3 million
  • enabled us to retain ownership of the island and keep it open for public access.

Please help us spread the word that the Campaign to Save Vendovi Island is not yet over. If you’ve not already done so, please consider contributing today!

Thank you!

* All are welcome but we require groups of 10 or more to check in with us in advance at 360/468-3202.