Saturday, September 01, 2007

Touring the Northwest - San Juan Island

The last two days of our trip were out on San Juan Island. This is the largest of a chain of islands, ranging from tiny (an acre?) to large (12x20 miles). This island has about 7000 permanent residents and that can double during the peak season. I compare this to Park City, which goes from 8,000 to 40,000 during Sundance.

To see the island you can drive a car (which we didn't have), bike (which we didn't have enough time for) or moped. We chose to moped. The place we rented them from had normal little mopeds and then these odd, two-person things. We did a test fit for size and I would have been wrapped up a bit too tight. We went with the normal mopeds.

One of the sights to go see is a lavender farm. The people running it are big into eco farming and use almost no irrigation or fertilizer. The lavender is used in lots of different products, all of which smell wonderful. We were lucky to be there when everything was blooming.

One morning we woke to a very heavy fog. I enjoyed walking along the docks in the marina and shooting some pictures. The sailboats were almost eerie.

The fog also coated a few spider webs I found. The looked like they were made with strands of tiny pearls.

As the fog lifted from the harbor, it was interesting to watch the ferries emerge from the fog that was still heavy out in the channel. You could hear the fog horns long before you could ever see anything.

The big thing to go do is to see the Orcas (Killer Whales). There are three resident pods totaling about 80 whales. We had a nice afternoon to go hunt for them and quickly discovered a pod. The only downside as a photographer is that the boats are supposed to stay 100 yards away from any whale. As you can see in the picture below, sometimes the whales don't follow the rules and wander right over near a boat.

A mom and her baby swimming together, with a hazy Mt Baker in the background.

In addition to the orcas, we saw a Bald Eagle, seals, a huge sea lion (10-12 feet) and porpoise. This little island was covered with cormorants, except right down at the shore line, which was layered with Harbor Seals.

All in all, a MOST excellent trip!
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