Few places in the Northwest boast the odd mix of ingredients — man, mollusk, mammal and military — found in the deep mixing bowl that is Dabob Bay.
THE ORCA appeared to be up to something. When a local oysterman saw the big blackfish swim into Hood Canal’s Dabob Bay a few years back, he wasn’t entirely surprised. Transient orcas often follow schools of salmon around Puget Sound, cornering them in places like Dabob, an unusually deep, uncommonly pristine pocket of water near Quilcene.
A seemingly unlikely partner, the U.S. Navy, has been proven to be a tremendous ally in Dabob’s green quest. The Navy, whose West Coast base for Ohio-class Trident submarines is a short distance to the east, at Bangor in Kitsap County, set aside outer Dabob’s deep waters as a non-explosion missile test range long before conservation status came to the inner bay. Sub fleet commanders have an interest that dovetails with conservationists: keeping the area undeveloped, and the submarine test range isolated, for the most part, from people. The Navy has actively helped find federal matching money just for that purpose. And more is on the way, via a mitigation fund for Bangor base expansion.