Embark on journey of nature: discover Blakely Island

Nestled within the tranquil embrace of the San Juan Islands in Washington state, Blakely Island stands as a testament to the enduring allure of unspoiled wilderness. A sanctuary of natural beauty, this hidden gem beckons intrepid explorers and seekers of solace alike to immerse themselves in its pristine landscapes and abundant biodiversity. In the heart of Blakely Island, time takes on a new meaning—one dictated not by minutes and hours, but by the flow of the natural world. 

Trail Time

A tour of Blakely Island’s maze of hiking trails is a perfect way to embark on a journey of discovery as you pass through a patchwork quilt of wonders. Ranging from tranquil walks in dense ancient forests to thrilling hikes up to the top of hills where views are panoramic, the island’s paths have something for everyone in its quest for knowledge. The popular Blakely Trail is an ode to the scenic beauty of this island; it features rugged terrain combined with stunning vistas and offers an unforgettable adventure across Mother Nature’s enchanting masterpiece. Deb shared with us about the trails around the accommodation. “You can walk along the trail next to the house in the early morning to enjoy the fresh air, plus hear the sound of running water next door, which is very chill.” She said

Dr. Eric Long exploring the forest and nature on Blakely Island (Duyen).

Wildlife Watching

As you venture along Blakely Island’s trails or set sail upon its azure waters, be prepared to encounter a menagerie of wildlife that calls this pristine sanctuary home. Bald eagles soar majestically overhead, their keen eyes scanning the landscape for prey, while playful harbor seals frolic in sheltered coves. Keep a vigilant watch, for it is not uncommon to witness the graceful dance of orcas as they glide effortlessly through the waves, their sleek forms a testament to the majesty of the marine world. Each encounter with Blakely’s diverse fauna serves as a poignant reminder of the delicate balance that exists within this natural ecosystem, inviting contemplation and reverence for the interconnectedness of all life.

Bat family – The only bats on Blakely Island (Duyen).

Nature’s Beauty

Blakely Island is not merely a destination for outdoor recreation—it is a sanctuary for the soul, a place where the wonders of the natural world unfold in breathtaking splendor. As you wander through its verdant forests and meandering pathways, you’ll find yourself ensconced in a world of botanical diversity, where towering conifers cast dappled shadows upon the forest floor and delicate wildflowers carpet the earth in a riot of color. Take a moment to savor the symphony of nature’s sounds—the gentle rustle of leaves, the melodious trill of songbirds—as you lose yourself in the timeless rhythm of life.

SPU students rowing boats next to the homestay (Duyen).

Sail Away

For those drawn to the serenity of the sea, Blakely Island offers a maritime playground like no other. Set sail upon its tranquil bays and sheltered inlets, where the salt-laden breeze invigorates the senses and the rhythmic lapping of waves against the hull provides a soothing soundtrack to your journey. Navigate coastal waters adorned with rugged cliffs and hidden coves, or simply drift aimlessly beneath the azure sky, embracing the timeless allure of seafaring adventure. Whether you’re an experienced mariner or a novice enthusiast, Blakely Island beckons you to embark on an odyssey of nautical exploration, where every voyage promises new horizons and unforgettable memories. And you don’t have to sail too far but can boat next to the lakeside house

Starry Nights

As the sun sets on Blakely Island, a celestial symphony takes center stage, captivating stargazers with its awe-inspiring beauty. Far from the glare of city lights, the island’s dark skies come alive with the brilliance of a thousand stars, their twinkling lights casting a luminous glow upon the landscape below. Lie back and gaze in wonder at the celestial panorama above, where constellations dance in silent splendor and shooting stars streak across the heavens like fleeting embers. At this moment of quiet reflection, you’ll find yourself transported to a realm of boundless possibility, where the mysteries of the cosmos are laid bare before your eyes.

Blakely Island sunset looking on the waters (Duyen).

Blakely Island beckons, a bastion of natural wonder awaiting your discovery. Whether you seek adventure, tranquility, or simply a deeper connection with the world around you, this Pacific Northwest paradise promises an experience like no other. Pack your sense of wonder, lace up your hiking boots, and set sail for Blakely Island—a journey of discovery awaits.

Blakely Island: Hub of marine biodiversity

Blakely Island, WA – Recent studies and ongoing conservation efforts highlight the thriving marine biodiversity around Blakely Island, part of Washington State’s San Juan archipelago. The island’s unique ecosystems are becoming increasingly well-documented thanks to collaborative research and restoration projects.

Rich Diversity of Marine Life

Blakely Island’s waters are home to a diverse array of marine species. Recent data from Seattle Pacific University (SPU) and the Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group reveal the extent of this biodiversity:

Fish Species: Many types of Pacific salmon live around Blakely Island and they are really important to both the environment and the economy. There are also plenty of rockfish and cod in the rocky reefs and kelp forests. These fish are important for keeping ecosystem balance and supporting local fishing activities.

Invertebrates: The marine areas around the island are rich in invertebrates such as starfish, sea urchins and Dungeness crabs. These organisms are important to the ecosystem because they help keep the marine environment healthy and stable.

Bright green sea urchin, Dr long’s favorite (Photo taken by Duyen)
Small cute six legs starfish found on the beach of Blakely Island (Photo taken by Duyen)
Purple sea star located right on the rock at the beach (Photo taken by Duyen)

Marine flora: The large kelp forests around Blakely Island are extremely important. They provide food and shelter for many marine animals, including juvenile fish and invertebrates.

“Marine diversity refers to the variety of life forms within ocean and sea ecosystems, including different species of fish, mammals, invertebrates, plants, and microorganisms. It’s important because it ensures ecosystem stability, resilience, and productivity, which are crucial for maintaining healthy oceans that provide vital resources and services to humans and other life forms.” Dr Long said

Key Findings from 2008 to 2009 Data: Marine Diversity Thrives Around Blakely Island.

Crabs and Shrimp: The survey found ten Dungeness crabs that were too small to keep, making up 26.7% of the catch. It also recorded different kinds of shrimp, which are important in the marine food web.

Forage Fish: Pacific sand lance and surf smelt were also found, making up 26.7% and 13.3% of the catch. The presence of these small fish shows the ecosystem is healthy and can support larger animals.

Pacific Salmon: Chinook, chum, and pink salmon were noted in the survey, with frequencies of 6.7%, 13.3%, and 6.7%. These salmon are very important for the marine ecosystems around Blakely Island because they support many predators and scavengers.

The data shows that Blakely Island has a rich variety of marine life. Continuous research and monitoring are important to understand how these ecosystems work and to help with conservation. Seattle Pacific University’s Blakely Island Field Station is key in these studies, providing important information about the health and sustainability of the marine environment.

Educational Contributions

The SPU Blakely Island Field Station is a cornerstone for marine biology research and education. Offering courses like Marine Ecology and Marine Botany, the field station provides students with hands-on experience in studying the island’s marine life. These programs have been instrumental in generating valuable data and fostering a deeper understanding of marine biodiversity.

Dr Nelson talked about plants – Photo taken by Duyen
Dr Long and Dr Nelson discussed roadside plants – Photo taken by Duyen

Dr. Tim Nelson, a marine ecologist at SPU, emphasizes the importance of these programs: “Our students’ research has been pivotal in documenting the recovery of marine species in Thatcher Bay and understanding the broader ecological dynamics of Blakely Island.”

Future Prospects

The future looks bright for Blakely Island’s marine life. Keeping up with research and conservation efforts is important to deal with environmental problems and make sure these ecosystems stay healthy. There are plans for more research and restoration projects to keep helping the island’s environment. 

Blakely Island is a great example of how conservation and research can make a big difference. The rich marine life around the island helps us learn more about marine ecosystems and shows why it’s important to practice sustainable environmental methods.

Blakely Island Beach – Photo taken by Duyen

So, the detailed survey of marine life around Blakely Island has given us important information about how rich and complex its coastal ecosystems are. The many different species found show why it’s so important to protect this special habitat. As humans, we need to keep focusing on conservation to protect Blakely Island’s marine life. By working together to use sustainable practices, we can keep these valuable marine ecosystems healthy and thriving for ourselves and future generations.