A Day Trip to Vendovi Island
Last week Jeffrey and I got the privilege to take a group of people from the San Juan Islands Preservation Trust out to their new acquisition -Vendovi Island. For us, this was an exciting trip to get to go ashore an island that has always been private and unaccessible.
While cruising between Bellingham and Vendovi, we talked with SJPT Executive Director Tim Seifert and Director of Philanthropy Barbara Courtney about the acquisition of the island and why its preservation is so valuable; especially as more and more of the San Juan Islands are developed.
Prior to the San Juan Islands Preservation Trust owning Vendovi, it was owned by the Fluke family. John Fluke Sr. was the inventor or the multi-meter and founder of Fluke Corp. which makes electronic testing tools. The family owned the entire 217 acre island and unlike many of the San Juans, it has not had much development. The Flukes had a small 3-bedroom house, sawmill and a couple other buildings, along with John Fluke’s grave site. Before the Flukes there had been a farm for raising fur animals.
We anchored just outside of Vendovi’s small harbor and were met by the islands caretaker and Dean Dougherty, SJPT’s Director of Stewardship. On our tour we learned a little bit about the history of Vendovi Island. To start with, Vendovi got its name from a Fijian chief who was taken into custody in Fiji by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, who was in command of the United States Exploring Expedition of 1838-42. Vendovi had been accused of the murder of several Americans working in Fiji and Wilkes was ordered to bring him to the United States. Sea of Glory by Nathaniel Philbrick is a good read about the US Exploring Expedition and how Vendovi became an important part of the expedition. As we walked through the trails we were shown many of the diverse plants that grow on Vendovi and learned that there are no deer on the island which makes it a special place where wildflowers thrive.
Our tour of Vendovi Islands gave us an appreciation of what SJPT does for the community and we are hoping that we can help them out in whatever way we can so that they can continue to preserve this jewel of an island for us all to enjoy. In the near future SIPT needs to raise $3.4 million to pay down a bridge loan. If they can achieve this, their plan is that Vendovi will be an island that is open to the public. For more information on Vendovi and SJPT…