Another (attempted) early start! At 6:50am (only 20 minutes late) we departed the campsite, made a quick-ish coffee stop in Friday Harbor, and continued to our second San Juan Island kayaking destination: Haro Strait. This strait runs along the west side of San Juan Island and is known as the best location for orca whale sightings. The main public put-in site is at Smallpox Bay in San Juan County Park, which is apparently where a number of Native Americans plunged into the icy cold water to rid themselves of smallpox and instead died of pneumonia...
5am: it’s time to wake up for the earliest ferry! In classic Nena-style we (Nena/Sara/Bridget/Ale/Alex/Maria) took the first ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor at 6:25am. We were directed to Lane #4 where we parked, ate yogurt and cereal, and watched a gorgeous sunrise. We wandered into the waiting area and found a Seattle’s Best coffee machine, which delivered wonders for $1.50. “Now boarding the 6:25 ferry to Friday Harbor.” Oh crap, we return to the car just in time to board the ferry, parked behind another pair of kayakers and next to a massive flammable liquids truck. The ferry to Friday Harbor lasted ~1 hour.
The park was strategically located 20 minutes from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal where we were scheduled to depart at 6:25am the next day. We drove over Deception Pass at sunset and took in the gorgeous bridges and views for a few minutes before continuing to our expensive/tiny campsite.
We fashioned a bed for Sara out of miscellaneous items in the car and attempted to sleep for a couple hours before Bridget and her crew arrived at midnight with the sleeping bag. All in all, a preparation day for our exciting kayaking trips ahead!
After a quick cafe breakfast with Juliette and Simeon in Portland, I drove up to my company's Seattle office. The Seattle office is wonderful. There are free drinks in the glass door fridge (almost like it's Facebook! ...) and there's a view of Puget Sound from the windows. Everyone is very friendly :). I did a couple hours of work and I have to admit: I might already miss my job. Luckily I can still keep working! There is no shortage of that.
The Seattle office Birthday Barge celebration (in which the month's birthdays are celebrated with beers/snacks on a floating dock in Salmon Bay next to the office) was relocated to the conference room due to impending rain. I thought these PNW people were unphased by rain! I was ready to tough it out with my rain pants and yellow umbrella. Instead, we celebrated in the common area, and Danielle and Allisa took me down to the water for a quick barge visit and Canada goose viewing:
After the birthday celebration was over and people started trickling out, Danielle and I drove to Capital Hill (her neighborhood) for dinner at Smith (yes, that's the name of the restaurant). Delicious cider and salmon! Now I'm perched in the top floor of my tiny AirBnB rental, ready for my first solid night of sleep in my own bed in over a week. Sara's flight from Richmond was delayed/cancelled twice, so she will no longer be arriving in Seattle tonight. This means that I am residing in our AirBnB house solo. The good news is, Sara has notoriously bad luck with flights, so we had preemptively scheduled an extra day in Seattle. It looks like I'll be doing the camping errands alone tomorrow, which means we'll probably be eating rice and beans all weekend.
Short post for Day 5... Wednesday morning began slowly. Mike, Juliette, and Simeon left for their respective jobs and daycares, and I found a coffee shop with delicious lattes. I met up with Juliette for lunch around noon (attempting to act like a local by taking bus), and we had a tasty frittata and soup at F&B cafe. It was a quick lunch because Juliette had to get back to work. I waited under an awning (it was raining!) until Dan picked me up to go on an afternoon hike. We drove out to the Columbia River Gorge and visited a couple waterfalls: a 2-mile hike to see Latourell Falls and a shorter hike to see Bridal Veil Falls.
On the way back to Portland, we stopped to photograph a beautiful view of the Gorge, below. The gas tank hovered around empty, but we made it to a gas station in Troutdale just in time. The station attendants pump the gas here, which never fails to surprise me.
In the evening Mike, Ju, Simeon, and I went to the Oregon Brew Fest (it was opening night) in downtown Portland. Simeon danced to the music, we went for a stroll along the Willamette River, and I met one of Mike's friends from his previous job.
Bridget and I started the day with some english muffin/eggs/avocado/tomato sandwiches before heading out for an epic kayaking trip. We rented a stubby Otter recreational boat from Peak Sports in downtown Corvallis. The put-in was allegedly a block away, so Bridget carried the boat while I drove to meet her. 5 blocks later, I found her staggering along, half dragging the boat through the grass. I parked to help her carry it the next 4 blocks. We launched onto the Willamette River and soon realized that paddling upstream would not be the relaxing morning paddle we had envisioned.
Sunday morning started early: I woke up around 5:50am after a reasonably sound night of sleep (having your own tent is a glorious thing), packed up the tent, and shared a sad goodbye with groggy Alice. The Mendocino coast road was foggy at 6:20am...
This is a blog about exploring the outdoors (mostly by kayak), traveling, trip planning, and coastal engineering. It currently focuses on kayaking in the Netherlands and Belgium, but previous posts cover Upstate New York, California, and much more. See the Complete List of Blog Posts for a history of the site. Looking for something specific? Search the site here.
In addition to the blog, check out the Water Nerd section, where I write about coastal engineering and hydrology.
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