A late spring campaign created for outdoor retailer Filson.
The San Juan Islands
Out here, the time of day isn’t found on a clock face, but in the palm of a hand. Each strike of the ax, dip of the paddle, or pull of the rope counts down a series of moments until the job is done. And with each task completed, we are reminded of–
THE UNFAILING POWER OF ONE’S HANDS
Construction begins on a traditional “Greenland paddle” using a single piece of cedar milled on Orcas Island.
Kiliii Yuyan designs and builds traditional kayaks in the Pacific Northwest. The narrow bladed, “Greenland paddle” allows for a more efficient paddle cadence than more modern “Spoon-bladed” paddles.
These skin-on-frame kayaks are built with a wooden frame and wrapped in a ballistic nylon (formerly used for military FLAK vests). Although they are nearly half the weight of modern fiberglass kayaks, traditional kayaks are just as formidable in the elements.
A kayak is characterized as a human-powered watercraft with a covered deck and a cockpit. Early kayaks were constructed with driftwood or bone, and covered with animal skin. The innovation of kayak construction with scarce materials empowered Northern indigenous people to hunt at sea.
Walking along the intertidal zone of Sucia Island, kayak guide Caitlin O’Brien passes iconic “Honeycomb” weathered Sandstone.
The San Juan Islands were heavily logged in the 19th century, largely to help fuel the fires in various kilns that transformed local limestone into commercial lime.
A bilge pump is used to remove excess water from the kayak. On shore, the pump is a convenience for keeping the cockpit dry. At sea, the pump can be a critical asset for a damaged hull that takes on water.
Will Kutscher (right) hunts rabbits at his family farm on Orcas Island, along with his friend, Avio (left). Originally homesteaded by Swedish settlers in 1860, the forestland is bordered by the Turtlehead Mountain Preserve and coastal Puget Sound.
Turtlehead Farm has an industrial history with several active workshops and facilities, including a machine shop, a circular blade sawmill, a blacksmith shop, a woodworking shop, greenhouse, and organic garden.
A makeshift rotisserie cooks a rabbit over a campfire, using a water propelled paddle wheel. A lack of island predators means rabbits are able to flourish to pest levels. The morning hunts allow for sport, food, and population control.
In the back of a classic Dodge M37 pickup truck, family friend, Kirk helps maintain forest health on Turtlehead Farm through selected tree removal.
Will behind the wheel of the M37 pickup truck. The Korean War era vehicle still proves useful for work on the Farm.
Kiliii inspects a log of cedar as it is milled at Turtlehead Farm. Looking for a board with the proper grain, he will be able to carve a new “Greenland paddle”.
Addie Asbridge carves a paddle from the Turtlehead Farm cedar. Together, she and Kiliii run Seawolf Kayak, hand making each traditional kayak in the Pacific Northwest.
VIDEO CAM: Kevin Freeny
VIDEO EDIT: BROTHER (Dan Windsor, Nolan Grose)
PHOTO: Ford Yates, Nick Strohmeyer
STYLE: Hana Crumley
MY CONTRIBUTION: Concept, producer, art director, writer