Favorite food: Chocolate avocado pudding and oat-bean waffles (ask me for the recipes)
Favorite quote: “If I had a snowflake for every time I thought of you, we’d have a really white Christmas.” — Charlie Brown
hen I was 10 years old, my parents gave me a Kodak Brownie camera for Christmas. Sounds sappy, I know. I was a bit of a tomboy, climbing trees and poking around rocks at low tides. So I was pretty surprised when I found a photo of me holding my new Brownie camera–get this–a polka dot dress. Sheesh.
I was born and raised in Washington State. My childhood wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy, which might explain why, at age 20, I went to sea. I worked as marine science technician and later, as a Merchant Marine Officer. Hard work, away from home.
I traveled the ocean from the Chuckchi Sea in northern Alaska, to Guam, Midway and other realms south of the equator. Those were pre-internet days. To share my shipboard life I wrote letters, describing whale encounters, 50-foot seas, and Sunday meals of roast pig. I also took B&W photographs, developing the film in the darkroom below decks (no need to tilt the trays of developer; the ocean-motion took care of that).
But after eight years at sea, I missed the changing of the seasons. I remember standing on the deck of a tug and asked myself, “What do I really want to do?” Two things popped into my head:
So I moved to Kodiak Island, Alaska because everyone I met there were super kind and neighborly. I still feel that way.
So with a camera in one hand, a pen and trowel in the other, I rebooted my life. I married Marty Owen, Kodiak’s harbormaster (retired), became a passionate organic gardener and launched a photography career. Clients include The Smithsonian, Patagonia, Reader’s Digest and my annual wall calendar. For a visual delight, visit my MarionOwenPhotography website. Today we operate an oceanfront bed and breakfast called the Cliff House B&B. From your room you can watch sea otters, sea lions, eagles and fishing boats go by…
We have a greenhouse, a hoophouse, and 12 raised beds filled with flowers, vegetables and herbs — from which we grow fresh greens for our Galley Gourmet dinner cruises. You’re invited to stop by for a cup of coffee on the deck overlooking the ocean.
As for writing, I co-authored Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, which enjoyed three months on the New York Times bestseller list, and for 22 years, I’ve written a weekly gardening column for the Kodiak Daily Mirror.
If you happen to visit Kodiak Island, be sure to look us up. (And if you need help with Alaska travel plans, let me know).
Cheers and blessings,