Our island

No traffic. No tourists. How one couple found romance ― and a whole new life ― on a remote island in Puget Sound

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  • Kitchen garden: Gail (below, with daughter Saide) grows fruits, vegetables, and cutting flowers that she arranges on the spot in bouquets. What's for dinner? Usually "a strange and wonderful mix of veggies for stir-fry," perhaps with locally harvested fish, oysters, or crab.

    Our Island

    John Granen

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"I was naive to move here alone," Gail says. "The house needed work. I was catching rain in pots and asking neighbors to help me fix things." Mark, a self-taught carpenter, was happy to help. "He felt sorry for me," Gail says with a laugh. "He'd come down and cut the grass ― he brought a tractor."

The couple began working side by side, first just making repairs. "My eyes would pop open at 4 a.m.; we'd clean up, brush up, get projects going," says Gail. "We both had the same vision for what the property could be."

Four years after they met, the couple married (on the porch of what was the island's original post office, which they'd just refurbished) and settled into their new life. Not long after, their determination was tested by a lashing winter storm. "The wind was so strong that the house shook, single-pane windows flexed in and out, and the power was out for days," Mark recalls. "We were the new kids here. Neighbors were afraid we'd perish; they checked on us."
"I didn't think I could live here permanently if the future was going to be like this," Gail adds. "The storm was dramatic and violent. We stuck it out; now we're pros at storms."

 

 

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