Warren’s World: Why Do You Live Where You Live?

By Beacon Staff

I am always interested in why people choose to live where they do. The answers range from, “It’s where my parents live” to “It’s closest to an international airport.” The first question I get asked is, “Why do you live on a small island in the rainy Northwest? I would think that you would live at a ski resort.”

Let me count the reasons why I prefer island living …

1. Ski resort lifts usually run for about 100 days a year and I like the ocean.

2. Our island is almost the same size as New York’s Manhattan. They have 5,500,000 people living there, and we have 3,500 people living here.

3. The ferry service is very limited and erratic at best. So we usually get in line at least an hour and a half before it leaves.

4. We get an awful lot of rain and fog. In the nearby Olympic Peninsula, they get more than 200 inches and we get enough to rust anything left outside for more than a week.

5. We have one grocery store, no signals, a half-dozen stop signs, a dozen restaurants and 32 T-shirt shops.

6. In 1996 the population on our island reached the same level that it was back in 1927.

7. There are almost no jobs available, except in the service industries and construction. And there is no employee housing.

8. I bought 10,000 baby oysters for a $100 and raise fresh oysters in bags tied under our dock.

9. I can catch my limit for salmon when I go fishing.

10. Depending on which brochure you read, there are between 175 islands in this part of the world, or, at low tide, as many as one for every day of the year.

11. I can leave the keys in my car or in my boat at the dock, along with all of my fishing tackle, and assorted camera equipment and never worry about anyone stealing it.

12. My friends can stop by and tie up at our dock. We can go out and set our crab pots, and after lunch go back out and pull up a limit of crabs for dinner.

13. Aside from running aground, there are only about 3,000 other problems that you can have while driving your boat.

14. When the Orca whales swim by in front of our house, the noise of them spouting sometimes wakes me up from my afternoon nap.

15. Fuel for our boat is generally about a dollar a gallon more than it is anywhere else in America. So there are very few boats at any of the docks.

16. There is a nearby island I can row my dinghy around in about an hour.

17. Around 1900 a famous man was told by doctors that he was going to die in six months. He got on a boat and settled here on my island and lived for 34 years. I plan on doing the same thing and when I’m 118 years old, I will finally know where the salmon are. By then, maybe I can catch them by myself.

18. In the meantime I can practice my boating skills, spend more time exploring with my wife and our three dogs, cruise to Alaska in the spring, eat fresh oysters, crabs and salmon whenever we want them and never watch the late-breaking-news on TV.

19. The islands are a long way from Hollywood, Calif., where I was born and even further from most of the ski slopes of the world where I have spent 62 winters of my life. An island is not a place for everyone. But it is home for me, my wife, our two boats, three dogs, a cat and a comfortable house that faces south to soak up the warm winter sun, which shines occasionally.