Thursday, June 5, 2014

Northward Bound

We stuck around Seattle an extra day because Noel's brother David was going to be in town for business.  We explored Tacoma early in the day, finding Washington's biggest used book store and a cute antique shop, stopped at Camping World for a new light fixture for the one that broke in the RV, washed the truck, etc.  We then met David at Duke's Chowder House and had THE BEST SERVICE EVER!  The food was great, the manager welcomed us with free appetizers, the waiter was great and the food was INCREDIBLE!  As soon as I figure out how to get on Yelp, they are getting a 5 star review from me!

The merry maintenance man!
Over 1/2 a million used books!  I gotta tell you though,
the two owner/workers we saw look like
they haven't seen sun light in many years!  So many books,
only one life!

Noel and his brother

The following morning we headed north, wanting to get a little closer to the San Juan islands.  We stopped in a cute RV park called Mt Vernon RV park and booked a whale watching cruise through Groupon.  We went out with Mystic Sea Cruises the next day.  The boat was comfortable and we headed out to hunt whales.  It was an overcast, foggy morning to start out with, but as the day wore on and we headed further out into the sound, the skies cleared to a sunny blue.  Our captain got word there were some orka whales ahead, so we all crowded onto the bow of the boat.  It took a few minutes before I spotted it, but sure enough, I saw him blow!  Cool!!  Then we saw a few more - saw their fins coming up out of the water.  But the boat rocked back and forth, back and forth and I was trying to brace myself, see the whales and take pictures.  So my pictures came out like this:  Sky, water, sky, water, 1/2 a fin, sky, back of someone's head, sky, a blurry splash, (repeat the latter X 50)  So frustrating and so painful!



The tail end of a breach...

Those two black things at the bottom of the 
picture? Those are whales....just missed them again


The best picture I managed to capture.

From there we continued to wind around the various San Juan islands, seeing bald eagles and puffins and cormorants and seals.  The weather was beautiful and while I was hoping to see more whales and to see them a little closer (the pics are with my telephoto and one of the reasons it was so hard to capture a good pic), it was a lovely afternoon.

The next day we stopped at Roozengaarde garden center, a huge tulip farm.  While we missed the tulips in bloom, the grounds around the gift store were nice and if we ever come back, we know to come in April for the tulip festival. You can learn more about them and order tulip bulbs at!

The peonies were blooming and smelled SO good!

Roses are so prevalent here in the northwest

Then we drove out to Whidbey Island to Deception Pass State Park.  The area here along the northwest coast is really beautiful, with huge, tall trees (pines, spruce, redwood, cedar, fir, we're not sure - they're some kind of evergreen and they are really, really tall), winding roads and steep cliffs.  Then boom - everything just drops off and there's the beach!  I had really hoped to see some more of those colorful star fish we'd seen along the Oregon coast.  I managed to see a few along the rocks from the boat, but we were too far away to take a good picture.

A brilliant purple starfish on the
shore (taken from the boat)

A pink starfish (taken from the boat)

But we did explore the beaches and hiked among the tall evergreens and lush ferns.

Lots of seagulls

and a family of geese

The beaches are rocky and the rocks so pretty!
I picked up some for you Shirley!

We were exploring the tide pools - so many live
creatures and colorful things if you look closely

Sweeping views

colorful tide pool

A trail down to the beach

we talked to these two nice fisherman for the longest
time.  Recent retirees, they love the northwest.  The guy in
blue? Raised in Dayton, Ohio!  Small world!

The local fisherman suggested we stop and try these on our
way off the island.  Coon Striped Shrimp - fresh
caught this morning.  Peel and eat.  Well, it must be
an acquired taste.  Noel hated them and I ate quite a few
because we bought them and I didn't want them to
go to waste, but by the time you peel away
all the yucky stuff, it was hardly worth the tiny bite
you got, and well, they were starting to creep
me out. We gave the rest away!

Tomorrow, we head into Canada!  Oh what adventure awaits us next?

1 comment:

beth cole barrineau said...

WOW!! The whales, starfish and flowers are absolutely amazing! I have to see the northwest!!
Love it as always Anna ~