A Three Hour Tour

For Mr. H’s 30th Birthday, I took him out whale watching… well that was the idea anyways, but apparently the whales didn’t get that memo.

The tour went out of Friday Harbor, so we had an adventure just getting there. We drove to Anacortes, two hours north of home, and then took a ferry across to San Juan Island where Friday Harbor is located.

We tried to have dinner at Front Street Ale House, but the service was so slow – not so much the kitchen, but getting the attention of the waiter (the one with the flat brim baseball hat cocked askew) – so we asked for the food to go and ate in on the boat as it was pulling out of port. The food was a bit greasy, but not bad.

The tour company we used was San Juan Safaris, and I would definitely use this service again. Our Captian was an old sea dog that looked like he’d spent more of his life on water than land, and the naturalist was a young college student who had been born and raised on the islands. They were both very skilled at keeping their guest happy and engaged (there were 20 of us on board) especially after it became apparent that the whales were not going to make an appearance.

We saw lots of eagles and eagles’ nests, rhinocerous oclets (horned diving birds), harbor porpoise, seals, sea otters, and beautiful scenery. The most fascinating sighting was also the most grotesque, we came across a tiny island, maybe 20 feet in diameter, with two young bald eagles on it. In the water below were a seal and her newborn pup. By newborn, I mean minutes old. We came up right after ther birth. The eagles on the rock were displaying their pecking order, the older eagle was eating the placenta, while the younger eagle stood by patiently waiting his turn.
We got back to Friday Harbor in time to catch the last ferry back to the mainland. The 9:55 is the milk run stopping at every island on the way, so we got back to Anacortes by midnight. That 2 hour drive back to Auburn was exhausting.

Seattle writer, Judy Schwartz Haley, blogs about raising a toddler while battling cancer, finishing a degree, and fending off ninjas. Also, she needs more coffee.
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