Saturday, May 16, 2009

San Juan Island

We rose early to drive up the coast to Anacortes where we hopped a ferry for an hour long ride to San Juan Island. We were somewhat expecting to see a kiosk selling espresso floating somewhere along the way to the island as there seems to be one every half block on the mainland. It was much colder than we had hoped and we weren't sure that our golf pullovers were going to cut the sting of the wind coming off the Pacific. We disembarked in Friday Harbor and mosied around the town for another hour before we got on the Sea Lion, a 55 foot cruiser to head out on a whale watching adventure. It wasn't long before we approached a pod of 22 or more Orca whales. Laws prohibited us from getting closer than 100 yard away so we were kicking ourselves for not bringing our paparazzi camera. The pictures in the album do not do the experience justice. We followed along side the whales for around an hour and a half and marveled at their leisurely behavior and their size. Ruffles, the largest male, had a dorsal fin that was estimated to be up to 6 feet high and was 18 tons. He was very easy to spot. Granny, the oldest whale in the pod, is estimated to be 98 years old, an age almost unheard of in the whale community.

On our return we passed a private island, originally owned by 2 wealthy taxidermists, that had been stocked with some exotic animals for hunting safaris. We saw a few bald eagles, some harbor seals, deer and mooflawn sheep (those were the exotic ones).

We got back just in time to get on the early ferry and head back to the mainland where we proceeded to sit in 2 hour bumper to bumper traffic all the way to Seattle. Mind you, this was at 8 p.m.!!!!!!! While this is decidedly one of the most beautiful states we have visited, we simply cannot understand how anyone could live here and deal with this kind of traffic on a daily basis. We heard that the metro area has added suicide hotline phones on the bridges due to the traffic. Have not verified that fact as of yet.

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