We have returned to Panama, but I still have some photos and adventures from our USA visit to catch up on. One of the highlights was a trip to the San Juan Islands to look for orcas. We had problems that turned out to be blessings in disguise.
We had made arrangements to go from Seattle to the islands on the Victoria Clipper, take a whale watching tour, and then return to Seattle that evening. We had a very enjoyable morning trip up through the beautiful islands and waterways to the San Juan Islands. After dropping off passengers, the same boat set out for the whale watching excursion. We were only a few minutes away from the dock when the boat stopped, and then announced that one of the engines wasn’t working properly and we needed to return to the dock.
It was now about noon and the whale watching was cancelled. Arrangements had been made to take the passengers on the 3:30 ferry to Anacortes where they would be met by a bus to Seattle, ETA about 7:30 PM. There were other whale watching tour companies but none of them could get us out and back in time to catch the ferry.
Breakfast on the boat as we pass the cruise ship dock.
The boat had two powerful engines and made good time through the water.
The area was beautiful and the day was perfect, sunny and calm.
The scenery was great.
The day just seemed to get more beautiful with each passing hour.
Sometimes when we were close to land we could spot bald eagles in the trees.
There were areas where the currents came together and rocked the boat a bit.
One of the ferries makes it way through the water.
After dropping off some passengers, the boat leaves the dock followed by a couple sea planes. (little did we know at the time!)
The sky was so beautiful!
We are ready to go find some orcas.
And now we are back at the dock. I snap some photos while we try to decide what to do.
It’s a pretty town with flowers everywhere.
Arrangements were made to put the passengers on this ferry, which would be met by a bus to take us back to Seattle. But, the little Kittiwake in front is where we actually ended up.
These huge mushroom type things were growing under the dock.
What to do? What to do?? It is a wonderful thing to have kids with good jobs and the means to make things happen when necessary!
Plan B – book a tour, and hire a sea plane to take us back to Seattle!
We ended up on this little boat with 10 passengers, a captain who had been doing tours for years and knew the habits of the orcas, and a naturalist who was full of information about the orcas as well. It was wonderful to be out with a couple people who were so passionate about these whales and the wildlife in the area, and loved sharing it with others. The other big boat could never had been a wonderful as this tour, and we also got extremely lucky. Even the pros were saying we saw more orcas and more interesting behavior that most people see in weeks on the water with these animals.
The boat captains talk with each other so everyone knows what the orcas are doing, and this captain was quite familiar with their habits. He was able to stop the boat where he knew they were headed, and just wait for them to swim by.
Another whale watching boat
A mother and baby were playing and splashing together.
There were quite a few seagulls resting on the floating kelp.
It was a gorgeous day and the scenery was beautiful even without the orcas.
Here we were in a spot where two groups of orcas were traveling towards each other, and we got to see them greet each other.
Here is the mother and baby again.
A pretty sailboat
The gray spots on this island are seals. I wish I was able to get a better photo of them.
I wish I had better photos! I had ordered a camera and the company took 11 days to ship it so I had not only left CA when it arrived, I had left the USA. Grrrrr! So, all I had was my iPad.
Anyway, after a fantastic few hours with the orcas, we made our way back to town, had some dinner, and then took the sea plane back to Seattle. What a fun experience!
Drew and Elizabeth waiting for the plane.
The plane arrives, and the guy pulls on the ropes to coax it to the dock.
A family and their dogs relax on the dock nearby.
The passengers get off.
The captain prepares to leave. One of the passengers got to sit in the copilot seat!
The guy pulls on the rope to help pivot the plane away from the dock.
We are airborne, leaving the town, the ferry, and the boats behind.
It was a beautiful evening and the scenery was fantastic.
We watched the clouds and the islands below.
In only a little over 1/2 hour, Seattle is ahead.
We landed in this lake. I’m not sure how he managed without hitting any of the many boats and kayaks below, but all was well.
We spent the rest of the evening walking back to the car through interesting neighborhoods, along the waterfront and through a sculpture garden. We wouldn’t have done this either with our original plans. Sometimes when things go wrong, they can go way better than expected. And, when my daughter called the next day she learned that the boat was going to refund the money for the entire trip! How nice to find out the dent in her bank account wasn’t going to be quite as big as it could have been.
What a day of wonderful experiences!