We had a wonderful day heading up into the mountains with our friend, Casper. On Friday we decided to head the opposite direction – west, toward the San Juan Islands. Our plan was to take the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor.
After all of the activities of Thursday, Friday morning was somewhat laid back. We would be taking the noon ferry, but we also wanted to show Casper around Anacortes, so we headed out a bit earlier. Our first stop was Cap Sante. This rocky point has wonderful views of Anacortes, the marina, and the surrounding islands.
I figured the high perspective views of the marina would be perfect for a tilt-shift effect.
The prominent red boat in the photo above is a Nordic Tug, manufactured nearby in Mount Vernon. The first one I ever saw was on Amy’s channel down in Florida, owned by one of her neighbors. Something about the design of these trawler-style boats appeals to me. If I won the lottery, I think this would be the type of boat I’d get. And it would take a lottery – the smallest Nordics start at a quarter million for a decent used boat. With the excellent weather, I saw TONS of Nordic Tugs throughout our trip. This, and other trawler style yachts seem to be quite popular up here.
As we were driving back down from Cap Sante we spotted movement in front of a house, and saw two fawns right in their front yard, with their mother keeping close watch from the side yard.
In a large building we saw something under construction that looked like a UFO. It was out of context, and I suspect that it’s part of a much larger ship.
We drove through the town and joined the traffic on the way to the ferry terminal. Since this was a Friday, and the weather was outstanding, I expected there to be lots of outgoing passengers. I was right. Even though we were early for our sailing, we still had to park in a remote upper lot that I’d not seen before. It was a quite the hike down to the ticket office, and I wasn’t looking forward to the uphill hike on the way back, after we were tired.
We bought walk-on tickets and joined others waiting for the ferry. Soon it arrived and we boarded.
As usual, we headed straight for the front, open air portion of the ferry.
Leaving the Anacortes terminal, one gets amazing views of Mount Baker. Its profile dominates the entire trip. I found myself taking multiple photos of the mountain.
With the beautiful weather there were any number of pleasure boats out on the water. There were also a fair number of commercial boats. We watched one boat loaded with a propane tanker land on a beach at Lopez Island to unload its cargo. Another similar boat continued on to a different island.
I also enjoy looking at some of the houses in some truly remote locations.
As we approached Friday Harbor I noticed lots of tour boat activity around a specific spot. Right away I knew what was happening – orcas. Sure enough, an announcement came over the speakers saying that a pod had been spotted off to port. We saw a couple of the whales, but there was no jumping as we had seen on our whale watching tour from several years ago.
The show didn’t last long, and soon the tour boats headed back to harbor. My thought was that either we caught the tail end, or these folks got short-changed on their tour.
Around one corner from where we saw the whales, and we found ourselves approaching Friday Harbor. The central business district of the largest town on San Juan Island is clustered on a hill surrounding the ferry terminal. In all of my trips out here, I don’t think I’ve ever been to any other part of the island. We’ve always stayed here in town, often turning right back around and taking the same ferry back to Anacortes.
This time we did disembark, and battled the weekend crowds for a place for lunch.
We found a pub that wasn’t too crowded, and relaxed a bit. The pub itself reminded me of the ones I’d visited in Ireland and England. The remote cool seaport and the fact that the waitress behind us had a British accent just reinforced that feeling.
From our lunch stop we wandered among the shops until time for our next sailing. I’d hoped for a new souvenir hat or T-shirt, but didn’t find anything I liked. We did see some nice artwork, including some soapstone figurines that Laura really liked.
We just had time to get ice cream before it was time to head back to the terminal and board our ferry back home. We had hoped to catch a ferry that would take us home by way of the smaller islands, but that would have put us back at Anacortes too late for Casper to drive back home. The scene loading looked just like the scene when we got here, except in reverse. We had to wait for the cars to clear the ferry deck, and that wasn’t easy with the traffic jam created by the exiting vehicles.
Once again we found a spot on the upper outer deck. I took a few shots of the marina as we waited to get underway.
The big lens on my camera seems to be a conversation catalyst. People see it and want to talk photography. On the way out I had struck up a conversation with a guy who was heading to the islands for a three-day kayaking trip. This time, a young boy was fascinated with the lens, and wanted to talk photography the whole trip. He stayed right with us the whole time.
We didn’t see any whales on the way back, but we did spot a couple of seals out in the water. They were a bit elusive for my camera. We also spotted lots of large jellyfish. Again, I didn’t get any shots of those.
We got back into Anacortes around 5:00. I took lots of shots on the way back, but they tended to be the same shots I’d taken on the way out.
The most difficult part was the hike BACK up the long hill to the car. Despite having to deal with one or two very rude drivers who don’t understand that pedestrians have the right-of-way, we made it. It had been a great trip. One of these days, though, I want to actually drive onto the ferry so that we can explore more of the island. Maybe someday.
One thought on “Samish Sojourn – Anacortes to Friday Harbor”
Sounds like you met Colin Creavy on the way back. 🙂