Monday, June 29, 2009

The British were coming, Friday and Roche Harbors,

Friday Harbor on a gorgeous day.

We sought some town-time in Friday Harbor. A pretty little ferry landing, we thoroughly enjoyed the local brew-pub and the chili pepper beer. They had bacon beer, but we stuck to our vegetarian principles.

We anchored in Garrison Harbor in front of the British Camp national historical park.




These cutouts in the blockade were to be pushed out from inside to shoot from if attacked. That they were never used is testament to diplomacy, tact, and human civility. The history of the bloodless Pig "War" is an interesting one, and a good read.
Here's the blockade. Interestingly, the American Camp on the other side of the island has one exactly like it, and is clearly designed by the same person.
Our biggest surprise of the trip was running into Paul Lawrence, a friend from Anchorage, in Friday Harbor. He took a job flying and turning a wrench for a flying service in town, and Mo stumbled on him headed to the showers one morning. It was a very fortunate accident, as you'll see.

Paul is a freelance photographer and does gorgeous work. None of these are his, by the way. He's a pro. Check out his gorgeous websites..
Here's our boat from the air at 120 knots.
Mo said Blain better be on his best behavior, because Paul is pretty cute - and has a plane. Thanks Paul. We loved the time spent with you, and, of course, the view.
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In Roche Harbor, we found the ring and gave it to Galadriel.
This mausoleum is truly one of a kind. A monument to the owner of the Roche Harbor lime kilns at the turn of the century, we felt like we'd found the elves home.
Roche Harbor is an affluent marina resort, and there is one bar, one cafe, one restaurant, one ice cream stand, and one ships chandlery. Still a company town, everyone wears the resort logo. It felt a bit Disneyeque.
We are now onwards to Stuart Island, then to Vancouver Island for a long bit. We plan to clear customs in Sidney, and then on to Victoria after a few boat upgrades.

Orcas!!!

Chance went whale watching. Here he is introducing himself to Bob the really nice Orca guy at the Lime Kiln Lighthouse. According to Chance, the conversation went something like, "Whales schmales, I want the milk bone, pal."



Blain's cousin Krista came over on the ferry and brought her sea kayaks. A definite whale junkie, she's been kayaking with whales for years and has generously shared an amazing adventure with friends and family for years.



Onto the water and little did we know we were to be treated to one of the most amazing animal encounters either of us had ever experienced.

Paddling with the tide, we rounded Lime Kiln Point and the famous lighthouse. Bob, Chance's new friend, pointed to the distance in a gesture to keep going. Soon we spotted the whale-watching boats in a rough line and figured something might be coming our way, so we stopped paddling and sat still. Within a half hour we were completely surrounded by a pod of 20 or more orcas as they worked their way up the coast.


Krista took this shot. A lot of hers were really close.


It's hard to take good photos right in the middle of a travelling pod of whales. Krista did a much better job, being the steel-eyed pro, so most of these shots were hers. I was always a little late on the shutter to get the goods and had to settle for a lot of wakes.

Krista had several some very close encounters with very large fins. One youngster cleared the water a couple of times just to splash for everybody lining the shores. How we managed to be exactly in the middle of everything at exactly the right time, particularly since the whales hadn't been spotted in weeks, I'll never know. Krista, however, would say that that's just how it was supposed to happen.

Wow. Really.

Wow. We will always be thankful for this experience from Krista.

And to the whales. May they always be.


My attempt at a movie.

video