The Gnomes of Stuart Island
I know it must be hard to believe but there are gnomes living on Stuart Island.
Stuart Island in Washington state, named in honor of Frederick D. Stuart, the captain’s clerk of the Wilkes expedition in 1841, is the Northwestern most island in the San Juan archipelago. Home to two communities of full and part-time residents, two airfields, and Stuart Island State Park. Most of the island is private property and although there are no stores or accommodations on Stuart Island itself, it is still a popular destination for many adventurers, with no shortage of activities for all who visit, including: hiking, fishing, clamming, crabbing, and diving.
With two main harbors Reid and Prevost there is plenty of space for anchoring out, or if you prefer, and get there in time, there are state park buoys and a floating dock as well. Two main hiking trails provide visitors with some of the most beautiful views in the islands with the opportunity to see whales in Haro Strait or the minks and sheep living on the island, while leading to the Turn Point lighthouse, the schoolhouse, and if you know where to look the gnome houses too!
Turn Point Lighthouse was put into operation in November 30, 1893 and one of the first keepers, a Norwegian immigrant and merchant seamen, Peder Nicholai “P. N.” Christiansen arrived with his wife and daughter on the island in June of 1894. Peder’s son Charlie was the first white child born on the island in August of 1894.
Ken and I have visited both harbors. I prefer Reid as it is deep into the harbor, offering protection from just about every angle, and has good holding ground for anchoring. Prevost can be a little dangerous if you don’t know the area well as there are many rocks just under the surface at high tide so a good set of charts is imperative.
One of the first trips we took in the Aggada Da Vida was cruising up the outside of San Juan Island to Stuart Island. We made anchor at Reid Harbor and decided to take the trail over to the Prevost side. This is a short walk and does wonders for working out the kinks from a long sail. I am always so amazed that no matter how many times we may anchor in the same area I seem to see something new each time. Such is the wonder of cruising.
As we were wandering the trail enjoying the wonderful view, Ken noticed some very interesting “structures” at the base of some trees just off the trail. We set about exploring these little marvels and were so taken with them that we decided that they could be only one thing. GNOME HOMES!
Of course I know that they are really just part of the tree root, or some type of growth caused by bugs or something, but……are we sure?
Let me know what you think. Could gnomes really inhabit Stuart Island? I like to think so.