Celia said: “Enough with the mountains, I need to be close to the water.” So we hopped a ferry to the San Juan Islands. This had been our favorite piece of the NorthWest last time we were out here. It’s sort of like the NW version of Maine – substitute Dungeness crabs for lobster. As we arrived in Friday Harbor we worried that maybe they had “paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Not to worry. Sure, Friday Harbor was more intensely developed, but the rest of the island remained as bucolic as before. Farm after farm on rolling hillsides, with grazing lamb and enough cattle to make you think of Montana. Even our B&B was raising a herd of Alpaca – “the dirty boys”.
On the far side of the island was Roche Harbor, the upscale counterpart to Friday Harbor. This was the place for the Mircosofties, Amazonians and other masters of the tech universe to sail their yachts. We were more interested in the killer whales. One day we studied the Orca (Killer Whales) at the Whale Museum, picked up refreshments at the San Juan Vineyard, then headed across island to Lime Kiln State Park where we were lucky enough to catch a pod cavorting off shore.
Another afternoon we spent time at an outdoor tiki bar overlooking the harbor, watching the fog roll in and out. Two couples, who had retired to the Islands from RochesterNY of all places, told us of the difficulty sailing in that pea soup. When the big ferry boat blows his horn to warn you he’s coming through, it’s tough to tell just where that sound is coming from. Your radar better be working.
The next day we sailed back to the mainland (what the islanders call America) in the dense fog, vowing to return.