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Saturday July 23- San Juan Island

The alarm was set for 6:15. UGH! We had to be at the Anacortes-Friday Harbor Ferry by 8 AM to find parking and purchase our tickets for the 9AM ferry. We arrived at about 7:50 and quickly found a parking space. We met up with Al, Carol, Ginny and Joe in the parking lot and headed into the building with the crowds to buy our tickets. Who knew so many people went to San Juan Island on a Saturday! Our tickets cost, round trip, $ 11.50 each. Seniors were only $5. So the trip is not expensive.

This was a lot different from our last ferry ride. Pedestrians load first, and we loaded via a special ramp. The ride over was interesting in that we watched the fog settle near the water, prior to dissipating. Notice how is looks in the picture, just hanging there!

Just before landing, we spotted several dug out canoes in the water.

This is part of the 2011 Salish Canoe Journey, Paddle to Snohomish. 130 families, paddle these canoes from various Indian Tribes on the west coast, some from as far away as Alaska!

The ferry ride was one hour and 5 minutes. Upon arrival in Friday Harbor,

all the pedestrians had to go down to the car level of the ferry;  we all walked up the ramp. Carol had arranged our transportation, and we were to meet the car rental guy near the Doctors Café, at a bench. There were 3 other people joining us for the ride and we were all driven to the rental agency lot next to the airport. We originally had rented a large van, as there were to be 8 of us, but two cancelled, so Carol had changed our reservation to a Suburban that sat 6 people. Al was the elected driver.

We started by driving south to Cattle Point, by-passing the American Camp. The American Camp was the US military installation on the island, and is in the south part of this 10 mile long island. We could see the Olympic Mountains in the distance. Those were the mountains that we had not been able to see when we were across the bay in Port Townsend and Sequim. There is an English Camp in the northern part of the island. The British and Americans almost went to war over the killing of a pig. This was called the “Pig War”. A pig, belonging to a British family was rooting in an American’s garden. The American killed the pig on July 15, 1859. When the British soldiers came to arrest the American for killing the pig, it set off a silly dispute that escalated over the summer. Finally, cooler heads prevailed, and the commanding officers decided that it would be silly to start a war between the two countries over a dead pig.

We stopped at Cattle Point to see the Cattle Point Lighthouse.

This is a private lighthouse which is not open to the public, so we did not hike out to see it, we just looked at it from the road. Cattle Point  of course has a cattle story. This is the southern most point of the island.  The Hudson Bay Trading Company started a sheep and cattle farm on this point in 1853. A year later, a British ship was stranded there, and the cattle had to be walked ashore at this point. The next year, the British put Cattle Point on their maps, thereby naming the point.

We walked down and looked at the beach at the actual point of land. Our next stop was at the Pelindaba Lavender Farm. Their lavender is just starting to bloom and they are going to have their festival tomorrow.

We saw this little car.

People can rent mopeds or these little cars to run around the island. The car rents for $150 per day. We only paid $102 for the Suburban, and split that 6 ways!

We continued on West Side Road, north, when we spotted a lot of people at an overlook. We stopped and sure enough, there was a pod (pod L) of Orca whales swimming past. We were able to see the ‘blow holes” and watched as they swam, bobbing up and down, splashing their tails. None of them jumped unfortunately! Our plan had been to stop at Lime Kiln Pt State Park, (aka Whale Watch Park) to see the whales, a mile farther north. This pod of whales had actually been traveling north and made a U-turn at the spot where we were lucky enough to see them. So they did not make it as far north as the state park. I spoke with one of the volunteers( at the state park) about the whales. He told me that there are 3 pods in the area. Another pod( m pod) was about an hour north of us, but they don’t know what the whales will do, as they follow the salmon, so like this pod, they might just turn and go another direction. We could not get pictures as they were a distance away, but we could see them well through binoculars.

We were able to see the Lime Kiln Light House and get our Lighthouse Passport stamped.

They were doing a presentation on the lighthouse and the whales this evening, but of course we would not be there. The light house was put into service in 1914, with an overhaul in 1919, when a  4th order Fresnel lens was installed. This was the last major lighthouse built on the Washington coast. It was automated in 1962 and is currently an active light house, with a white flash every 5 seconds.

We drove north past the English Camp to Roche Harbor. This was a picturesque town, and the ferry to Bellingham lands here. They had more lime kilns here.

In front of this kiln, they were playing Bocci Ball.

We went to stand in line at the restaurant at the end of the pier. Al meanwhile went into the historic Company Store

and found that they had sandwiches. We all went to the store to buy the sandwiches. Bob had a ham and cheese and I had an egg salad. We split a small bag of low salt chips, I had a Dansani water and Bob had a Henry Weinharts Root Beer. Our total came to just a few cents more than one of the meals would have been at the take out restaurant! The sandwiches were not that great, but they were filling. Here are some other scenes from Roche Harbor. 

From here, Al drove us back to Friday Harbor. He stopped to get gas, and everyone except Carol got out and walked the rest of the way downtown. Al and Carol turned in the Suburban and went downtown for some ice cream. Bob and I wandered through the shops, tasted some wine, and sat looking at the harbor until it was time for the ferry ride back to Anacortes. We were a bit disappointed in the shops, as there were not a lot of them and they were not at all interesting. 

On the ferry ride we were able to see Mt. Baker,

which or course we could not see when we were there on Wednesday. We had seen it on the way over this morning, but it was a lot more hazy this morning. We could also see Mt. Rainier in the distance, but it was so far away, the picture was very poor quality. We were also able to see the top of Mt. Olympus. Weather wise, this was the best day that we have had in Washington State, with highs in the 70’s, and a light breeze!

Puget Sound was as calm as a lake! When we docked in Anacortes, Bob and I raced back to the car and hurried to the motor home. This is the longest that we have left the dogs (10 hours) and were afraid that their poor little bladders were going to give out. They were okay, just happy to go for a walk! We turned around and drove back to Anacortes to meet Al, Carol, Ginny and Joe at Anthony’s Restaurant. Joe had been told that this was the best seafood restaurant in town. He could not get a reservation, but they promised him a table for 6 on the patio.

Dinner was excellent. It started with some fresh sourdough bread. Bob had the clam chowder, which he thought was good, but not as good as the one he had a few nights ago. Carol and I had the seasonal salad, which had fresh raspberries and blueberries, with spinach and chopped almonds; topped with a homemade raspberry dressing. It was superb. Ginny had the Caesar salad, Al and Joe also had the clam chowder. Bob had fried oysters, Ginny had a filet, Joe had a shrimp salad, Al had muscles alfredo, Carol had shrimp tempura, and I had broiled scallops with a gremolata (a kind of lemon/herb) sauce. It was awesome! We had to say farewell to our friends, as they are leaving in the morning, moving south to visit Seattle. But we had a really great day with them!

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