The rainy season is over and summer is nipping at the heels of spring. This year I’m hoping to get more traveling in and do some exploring. For our spring vacation, we took a trip to the San Juan Islands, staying at Friday Harbor, to go whale watching. For this vacation there was a lot of pre-planning involved months before our actual trip. We found out last year that during the summer months here everyone is traveling around experiencing all this state has to offer and almost every vacation spot is booked up months and even up to a year in advance.
I had to book the hotel, dog kennel stay and whale watching boat in January for a May trip. Then as it got closer to our trip, a month out, I had to make reservations for the hour-long ferry ride to the island. So much pre-planning and time scheduling was stressful. We had to be in the line for the ferry forty-five minutes to one hour prior to sailing in order to ensure a spot on the boat. Couple that with the traffic here going north through Seattle, we had to be on the road about six hours early just to drop off the dogs, fight commuter traffic and drive the hundred nineteen miles to the ferry terminal. Not our normal vacation style of heading out then stopping when and where we want.
Anyway, the trip was amazing. The weather was just perfect, sunny with highs in the high sixties and low seventies. We couldn’t believe our good fortune. Our hotel was a mile away from the harbor and decided that instead of driving down and looking for parking each time, we would walk down to the docks on each trip out.
The company we went with for the whale watching was Maya’s Legacy and we couldn’t have been given a better experience. The crew, captain and two mates, was wonderful, informative and very helpful. We were a small group, thirteen of us plus the crew, so we were given much more personal attention than other boats we saw that had over thirty people on the decks. Every time the captain or one of the crew saw something of interest we would stop for sufficient gawking and photos.
We saw bald eagles perched on the tops of trees scanning for lunch. We turned north and headed toward Canada looking for Orcas. We found a pod with four whales and as one of our crew pointed out, we were having a National Geographic moment, watching the whales feeding. What I was surprised to see was that all of the boats talked to each other and let others know where to find the whales, in order to provide a great experience for everyone out on the water. After watching them for a while, I figured we would head back, but no, our captain said we were on the search for another pod that consisted of a mother, her son and daughter. We found them farther north and again, we were all in awe of the beauty and magnificence of the animals. The male Orca had a dorsal fin that was over six feet high. I could hear the water being expelled from their blow holes each time they broke water.
After we had been on the water for over two hours, we turned around and headed back. On the trip back we came upon a group of harbor seals feeding on fish and a group of sea gulls flying around them trying to steal a bite or two.
Definitely a trip that was well worth the pre-planning, one that we won’t forget for some time.