Filmmaker Ian Hinkle, a former resident of Port Townsend, returned to the Peninsula to show his 2014 documentary “Reaching Blue” about the effects of climate change on the Salish Sea. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Film from former Port Townsend resident deals with Salish Sea, climate change

PORT TOWNSEND — Former Port Townsend resident Ian Hinkle hopes his film “Reaching Blue” stirs discussion on climate change.

“For a lot of people, discussions of climate change are theoretical, but we’re seeing changes right now in our own backyard,” Hinkle said.

“I hope this allows people to have that discussion and now allow it to be theoretical.”

The film, which Hinkle co-directed with Andy Robertson, focuses on changes happening in the Salish Sea due to climate change.

“I wanted to find a way to humanize science,” Hinkle said. “My way to do that was through film and human stories.”

It was shown for the first time on the North Olympic Peninsula in Port Townsend on Friday.

About 225 people turned out to see the 45-minute film at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship sanctuary in Port Townsend, according to Kees Kolff, chair of the fellowship’s Green Sanctuary committee.

The panel hosted the film since for the past two years, it has promoted education on climate change and its effects on the area’s environment.

“This particular movie was all about the Salish Sea and climate change,” Kolff said.

The Salish Sea includes the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Strait of Georgia, Puget Sound and all their connecting channels and adjoining waters, such as the Hood Canal.

The film focuses on the sea on the Canadian and United States border and interviews a variety of people — among them climate scientists, shellfish farmers and writers, including Port Townsend’s Brett Nunn, author of “Panic Rising.”

“It’s sort of a real variety of people that live on this coast,” Hinkle said. “What I was looking to do is demonstrate how we’re all connected to the ocean.”

The film was first shown by the Canadian Broadcast Company in 2014 and has since gone on to win a variety of awards in film festivals in the U.S. and Canada.

Hinkle said he’s also traveled around the world to show the film.

“It’s interesting to talk about changing climates and changing oceans around the world,” Hinkle said. “The issues in ‘Reaching Blue’ have parallels to people around the planet.”

Hinkle said he was excited to bring the film to Port Townsend, where he lived from 2002 to 2008.

“When we set out to make a film about the Salish Sea, I wanted it to include both sides of the border,” Hinkle said. “Part of what brought me to Port Townsend was the Western Flyer. At the time, it was just sitting, rotting at the back of the boat yard. We had no idea what it would become afterward.”

The Western Flyer, an old wooden vessel that was made famous by author John Steinbeck, is being restored by the Port Townsend Shipwrights’ Co-op.

“It was interesting to look at this old wooden boat, which was a forgotten part of our history, and have it represent an era of ocean research,” Hinkle said.

Hinkle said he hopes to show the film again on the Peninsula and is currently looking for a good place to screen the film in Port Angeles or Sequim.


Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at

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