Off to the Islands…we go traveling again

Yes, we are traveling. Not far and certainly as safely as possible, we promise. We had planned a trip to the San Juan Islands with my brother Steve and his wonderful bride Jamie back in October to celebrate Kathleen’s birthday. Then Jamie had her unfortunate trip and fall and instead of spending four nights on San Juan Island, she ended up spending 10 nights in Evergreen Hospital (she is doing much better now).

But we had paid for the nights at the AirBnB-type suite we had reserved and it was non-refundable. My brother was able to get his money back from his credit card/travel insurer but since we had rented two separate suites and neither Kathleen nor I was an injured party, we could not. So it was either go when we had planned (and leave Steve alone at our place visiting Jamie during the days—we weren’t going to do that) or ask the owners of the suites to let us move our dates, which they did. So that’s why I find myself sitting here in front of the fireplace in Friday Harbor in one of the Web Suites, writing this post.

For those not familiar with the San Juan Islands, they are a beautiful archipelago of more than 100 islands located in the northern end of Puget Sound. Saying that there are more than 100 is kind of pushing it. In actuality I think there are less than 30 that are inhabitable, many that are just large rocks sticking out of the water, some only at low tide. There are only four large islands that have ferry service. For the rest you need a private boat.

I have been coming here since the mid-1980s (my first life) when the family used to drive up from Eugene and rent a place on Lopez Island, the most rural of the four with ferry service. Later the islands were part of my yearbook sales territory so I would come out on a regular basis. But when I started cutting back that part of my yearbook job, the islands were the first schools to go. Just too much time and expense (round trip ferry for two seniors and a car is more than $60) to get out here on a regular basis. Since I met Kathleen we have only been up here a couple of times and we can’t even remember when we were here last.

Getting to the San Juans from our place entails a drive of a little more than an hour and half and then a ferry ride of about the same amount of time. We drove up Tuesday and it just poured rain most of the way. The ferry leaves from a cute little town called Anacortes. We have a favorite deli in town where we have stopped for lunch before, so we thought we would grab take-out sandwiches and eat them in the ferry line.

Usually I love the ferry ride through the islands but with Covid, the ferry system is asking those who are driving to stay in their cars and not go up to the passenger deck except to use the restrooms. Sadly we were also stuck into a space on the car deck right between two big trucks so from our car we could not see out in any direction. Hopefully we will have a better view on the way home Friday.

We got in here around 3:30 and headed to our rental. It’s really nice with a few faults that I won’t mention here. We like it just fine, but it would not be our first choice on a return trip. Just little things.

As usual on our first morning I was out and about doing my pre-dawn walking with camera in hand. Here’s some of the pics I got on that walk. Don’t forget that clicking them in a web browser lets you see them enlarged. They look a lot better that way.

After my walk it was back for breakfast and then Kathleen and I headed out to tour some of the island we had not seen before. One of the things we wanted to see first was the Lime Kiln Lighthouse on the west side of the island. I had been by the state park where it is located but never stopped. This time we had a reason to go. Just last week we finished our 18th jigsaw puzzle since this all started in March. This one was a bunch of posters of lighthouses around the USA. One of them was Lime Kiln so we wanted to see it. 

We got really lucky that the weather had cleared and we had wonderful sunshine for most of the day. This led to pics of the lighthouse and the area around it that I am very happy with. 

After our visit to the lighthouse, we headed back to the suite for a quick bite of lunch and then I went back to Lime Kiln State Park to hike some of the more challenging trails that Kathleen would have had a problem with. I had a really great time and met lots of locals out for a hike on an unusually gorgeous late autumn day. I got to see the lime kiln and climb to the top of the highest hill and get an awesome view. A few pics so you can see what I mean.

That was it for the first full day. The weather was awesome. After my hike I headed back to the suite where we ordered takeout (I think we tried every decent place that had takeout that were open mid-week) and ate in. It is sad to see so many restaurants closed or operating on takeout only. We hope to come back soon after the pandemic is over to eat inside these places. One more post on Saturday after we get home will wind up this short trip.

I feel we are all islands – in a common sea. —Anne Morrow Lindbergh


4 thoughts on “Off to the Islands…we go traveling again

  1. Eileen Anderson

    Beautiful photos, as usual, Jim. I’m glad you were able to change your dates and have a little get away. I was in the San Juans only once, @35 years ago. Loved it there, but of course, preCOVID and in the summer.

  2. Bob

    Glad you got to get away and Jamie’s doing OK. We have yet to do YOUR gulf Islands. But have been to a few of OURS. Just as an aside during covid here’s what’s happening now on our BC Ferry System. Reduced capacity and the opposite to you. Unable to remain in cars due to safety Regs. (Not related to covid) Used to be able too.
    Lets do someones Gulf Islands when we can….

Leave a Reply