We were so lucky to visit Protection Island as a guest of its ONLY resident, Marty Bluewater and his partner, Terry Tilton. Back in 1971, Marty plunked down $7,000 for a lot on this island. Around the mid-80’s – after a lot of hearings – the government decided to turn it into a wildlife refuge. All other residents were bought out. Marty turned down the buyout and managed to convince the powers that be that he would be a good steward of the island. He is allowed on the island for his lifetime, after which it will turn 100% wildlife refuge.
The only other people allowed closer than 200 ft. offshore are researchers. The island is home to dozens of different species including deer (all named Larry), harbor and elephant seals, squirrels, the rare rhinoceros auklet, bald eagles, northern harriers, peregrine falcons and puffins. During the summer, up to 400 harbor seals make their homes on the beaches and thousands of seagulls inhabit the island’s cliffs. The wildlife create a different kind of cacophony than exists in the city.