The Salish Sea

The traditional territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ people on Vancouver Island, BC.

I stand corrected; my current location is not near the Pacific Ocean. I have not been gazing out onto the Pacific Ocean, I have not been smelling the Pacific Ocean, and many of my scuba dives which I thought were in the Mighty Pacific, were, in fact, not. I was 52 years old when I learned that all of this around me is The Salish Sea right down to Puget Sound.

Sure, I had heard of the Salish Sea before, but I really just thought it was an Old-Timey way to refer to this part of the Pacific Ocean — little did I know. My brain is bent. I had to Google it and look at the map. The Salish Sea, much like the Sea of Cortez, is known as a “Marginal Sea.” My world is much richer for knowing that Wikipedia fact, but I was to learn even more.

First off, I would like to credit my dad, Barrie, for the continuing education of the world around me. Further, I would like to recognize my mom, Betty, for always looking patient and supportive during said education, especially in my advanced years. It can’t be easy.

Certainly, they both must be thinking, “Wow, Mike should have worn helmets more often as a child.” They might be right. I’m personally astonished this seemingly obvious fact had escaped lodging itself anywhere in my brain for so long, but there you go. I wonder how many other people aren’t aware of “The Salish Sea” and simply thought, as I did, that the Strait of Georgia, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound already had enough names?

Again, I would be wrong, and after a bit of research, I learned that it hasn’t always been The Salish Sea. Instead, this was a reasonably recent adoption (ratified 2010) as a way to pay respect to the indigenous peoples, Coast Salish, who lived and thrived along these waterways; long before western settlers came over and got our sticky fingerprints over everything.

Later that day, my dad and I went for a long walk through “the traditional territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ people. Specifically, the BOḰEĆEN (Pauquachin) First Nation and W̱SĺḴEM (Tseycum) First Nation who are still an active and vital part of the North Saanich community.” — About North Saanich

Welcome to Gnomeville.

Vancouver Island is an extraordinary place, and for whatever ancestral reason, I have always felt more at home long the Salish Sea and the Pacific Ocean. As we were walking and talking down narrow paths through the woods, a Great Blue Heron glided just above us; a few moments later we found ourselves in Gnomeville where tiny-shiny toys and trinkets adorn the foliage for the gnomes to play with; and just because you never can have too much awesome here, we walked under a gigantic Bald Eagle nest filled with eaglets.

For the first time in a long time, I felt like doing a cross-country run through the forest, and maybe one day soon I will — once I get myself a new “running in the woods” helmet.

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Michael Dean Dargie

Michael Dean Dargie

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I do cool and weird shit with cool and weird people. Dad, biker, writer, speaker, artist, adventurer, doer of things, teacher of stuff. MichaelDargie.com