Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bathymetry, Borders, Piers and a Totem Pole

I was taking a look at various bathymetry in the northwest Washington coastal waters and noted a couple of things on this image: one of great past importance and the other of more recent attention.

I labeled the second image with Cherry Point and the border between US and Canada as a red line.
The past issue involving bathymetry is note the western side of the San Juan islands is bounded by a deeper channel than the east side of the islands. The United States demonstrated that western channel was the deeper channel and that ultimately determined the U.S.-Canadian border through the coastal islands in 1872 borderlines-and-oregon-country-whatcom. The line was drawn to include San Juan Island despite a strong previous presence by the Hudson Bay Company. 

The other more recent bathymetry is the relatively deep water right up to the coast at Cherry Point. That fact has caused that bit of coast to be an appealing location for deep water piers. Three already exist serving two refineries and an aluminum plant. And another is being proposed for shipping coal. But deep water close to shore also makes for very good fishing, and the local tribes are objecting to the scheme. 

On Friday I went out to Cherry Point right after my return from urban geology (another day for those stories). I arrived just in time to see the totem pole carved by House of Tears arrive from its recent visits to the Powder River and points between.  

House of Tears totem pole


Brisk day with a view across the straits to Canada
Visualize a coal terminal here

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