Thursday, July 18, 2013

Notes From Bellingham to Orcas Flight

I had a project on Orcas Island and this time I took the short flight from Bellingham to Orcas - saves a fair bit on project costs as this was a one project trip.

Over the past few years the Bellingham Airport has changed a lot. As my small plane flight was early I got a vie of the Aliegiant fleet of jets that use Bellingham. Aliegiant's schemes in Bellingham have been very successful and have also drawn Alaska to increase service to Bellingham. Mostly the flights are inexpensive routes to sunny places and are drawing lots of Canadian travelers from the lower BC mainland metro areas. The huge increase of use at the airport is also driving some large motel/hotel schemes.

In our small plane we were well above the ground well before the end of the runway. The above is a view of the slowly degrading cross-wind runway. The grass-covered to the left of the runway is a capped woodwaste landfill. The Port allowed Georgia-Pacific to dispose woodwaste at the site for many years. I used to sample groundwater and landfill gas at the site. The gray area in the middle is a stormwater system. It used to be a forested wetland, but has been altered for managing stormwater run off from the airport site.

Just west of the airport is a good view of one of those landscapes that is not rural or urban that took a few rounds planning and Growth Management Hearings Board rulings against Whatcom County. A tough planning area.

Flights from Bellingham to the San Juan Islands always provide great views of the Nooksack River delta. Gave me another chance to see how the massive log jam has been progressing. One of the main channels has been completely filled with logs and now vegetation is starting to grow on the log jam.

Lummi Island and Lummi Peak on the right, Lummi Peninsula and Portage Island on the left separated by Hale Passage.

Rosario Strait is the wide and deep straight on the east side of the San Juan Islands. It is the inbound shipping route for ships heading to Vancouver's ports and the industrial piers in Whatcom County. This strait was Great Britain's proposed border between Canada and the United States that was rejected by Kaiser Wilhelm (borderlines-and-oregon-country).

Approaching Orcas from the north provides a great view of the northwest plunging anticline of Sucia Island and the folded Chuckanut Formation and a chunk of Naniamo Group on the southwest.

A reef of rock, Parker Reef, shows up in the water just north of Orcas Island. The rock is mostly covered during high tide. The aligned bedding plains are easily seen. The rock is Naniamo Group and the reef is part of the San Juan Island National Wildlife Area.

1 comment:

Jane Fader said...

Hi Dan,
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blogs about Bellingham to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you soon!