Map to Fountain of Youth discovered!


By Joe King, Gerbil contributor.

We’ve had some wild tides this year and you never know what might wash up on shore after a stormy King tide. Just ask local fisherman and beachcomber Chuck Nelson. Chuck and his wife Darlene were beachcombing after a fierce winter storm when they found a curious package.

Tightly wrapped in waxed leather with odd markings they assumed it must be an artifact left by the indigenous people who once camped on these shores during summer fishing season. Knowing they found something unique, historic and possibly of value the Nelsons took their find to the Burke Museum at the University of Washington to have it assessed.

After studying the artifact noted archeologist Dr. I.B. Fu Lin shocked the Nelsons with her findings. It turns out the tightly wrapped satchel is in fact of Spanish origin dating to the 16th century. The contents of the package include correspondence and maps that Dr. Fu Lin believes belonged to the Greek explorer Apostolos Valerianos also known as Juan de Fuca. Said Dr. Fu Lin, “These materials require the strictest, most meticulous handling in order to retain and decipher what can be salvaged of the extremely delicate materials”.

Until now, researchers have been unable to find written records of Juan de Fuca’s expeditions on behalf of King Philip II of Spain including his voyages to New Spain, Baja California, and our own Straits of Juan de Fuca so named for the Greek explorer.

From the maps and correspondence found by the Nelsons, it seems that the elusive Northwest Passage was not the only thing De Fuca was searching for. Among the ancient letters is a delicately pieced-together correspondence and map from fellow explorer, the Spaniard Ponce de Leon. Leon is known to have searched the Caribbean and Southeastern seaboard searching for the legendary Fountain of Youth. While skeptics may doubt its existence Leon may simply have been looking in the wrong place.

While this remarkable find will require many more months of painstaking work to decipher, what is beginning to become apparent is that Leon suspected the Fountain of Youth he sought so diligently may actually be right here in the Pacific Northwest. According to the explorers’ maps, it appears the Fountain of Youth may be located on the west side of San Juan Island somewhere between Lime Kiln Point and San Juan County Park.