Let’s Talk About: Port Gamble & Straits of Juan de Fuca

Did you realize that the lovely old church in Port Gamble, Washington (which you see on your way to Port Townsend or Port Angeles), was built in 1870 by two homesick Bostonians? They patterned their church after the 1836 church in Machias, Maine (top). See the similarities?

  The Straits of Juan de Fuca. You’ve read about it, been on it and been by it many times, no doubt. But ever wondered where such a Spanish-sounding name got tagged onto this body of water?  In 1592 (100 years after the discovery of the New World by Columbus) the entrance to Puget Sound was first seen by Juan de Fuca, a Greek mariner in the service of the Viceroy of Mexico. De Fuca had been commissioned in that year to explore the west coast of the New World and claimed that he sailed along the California coast until he came to the latitude of 47 degrees and there, finding that the land tended north and northeast with a broad inlet of sea, he entered and sailed for more than twenty days. De Fuca was firmly convinced that he had discovered the “fabled Straits of Anian,” the connecting link between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The explorers who came after, the English especially, sought to discredit the performance and claims of de Fuca. He was pronounced a myth…his discovery a fable. Even Capt. Cook, while attempting to discover the illusive passage to the Atlantic Ocean entered this notation in his log book: “It is in the very latitude where we now are, that geographers have placed the pretended Strait of Juan de Fuca. But we saw nothing of it nor is there the least possibility that any such existed.”

The Green mariner was vindicated after all; the strait now bears his name even if it is not the “Strait of Anian.”

What is a “megacity” would you guess? The answer is: any city with a population of over 10,000,000 people.  And how many are there? You’d be amazed.  Asking Goggle’s help for “world most populous cities,” I browsed through a list of 1000 cities from all around the world.

Most populous city in the world? Tokyo, Japan. Followed by Delhi, Shanghai, Dhaka (in Bangladesh), Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Cairo, Beijing, Mumbai and Oskaka.  It makes sense that the majority of bigger cities are in China and India which are the two most populous countries.

The U.S. doesn’t make the list until #41: New York City. Next after that is Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia………. And that last is #323!  Seattle is #750. Frankly, I’m glad that we don’t have “megacities” in America.

China has six megacities; India has five. The source found by Google stated that “of nearly 8 billion people on Earth, 7% live in megacities (where population exceeds ten million).”

Point of the story: Be thankful for where you live. Especially if it’s in Port Gamble.