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Entries about orcas

Day 9 - Orcas and Orcas

sunny 70 °F

First of all, a note about checking in on Day 8: Our host had mentioned that, despite the recent legalization of marijuana in Washington, there were no legal distributors of it on the island. Catherine said "we were wondering about that" since we had been talking about the law and how it would work. However, our host seemed to think that we meant that we were interested in purchasing marijuana (to be clear, we were not). It was difficult to convince the host that we weren't interested, however. She repeatedly apologized that she didn't know any dealers, but encouraged us to go in to one of the pubs and ask around if we really needed to find one. But, she cautioned, we shouldn't smoke anything at all in the house. Despite Catherine's repeated assurances that we weren't interested in buying or smoking marijuana, and that we certainly wouldn't be smoking anything in the house, the host seemed to genuinely feel bad that she couldn't help us find any marijuana.

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We went for a walk on the beach in the morning. The tide was out, and it was amazing how much larger the beach has gotten. Also, where it had previously been just pebbles, the beach now had quite a bit of sand. It was interesting to see the change, especially since the waves are basically non-existent and the tide is thus extremely evident (the waves are probably much bigger outside of the very sheltered sounds and bays around the island.)

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Waiting to go out. We went with Outer Islands Charters, which guarantees whale sightings. If you don't see a whale they will take you out again. However, not all whales are orcas, and we really wanted to see orcas, so we were encouraged that the company seems to advertise exclusively with orcas.

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We wish we could include more pictures of the whales, but the pictures could never do the experience justice. We found a pod of transient orcas in between Orcas and Jones island, and travelled with them up Presidents Channel for about two hours. At times they were close enough to the boat to hear them breathing. It was a small family of five orcas. The matriarch, T-65A (nicknamed Lumpy) had four of her children. Orcas have babies about once every four years (Lumpy has more children than average) and one was a tiny baby. When
they would surface to breath, each whale would arch out of the water. The larger whales would take some time to do this, but the little baby would arch over in a second. It was truly amazing to see these creatures and hear about their intelligence. We both feel that we picked the right charter company, and that the experience was a dream come true.

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Us on the boat after seeing whales!

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The White Horse Irish pub in Eastsound. Beautiful views of the sound and the neighboring islands. Daniel felt like this was a very authentic Irish pub. On a remote island, simple food, a real menu item called "toasted cheese and chips," and a perfect ocean view.

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The beer recommended by the waitress is called Irish Death. It sounds dangerous.

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SummerTime plums from Reedley, California at the store on Orcas Island (for any readers that don't know, we get all our summer stone fruit from a SummerTime grower between Kingsburg and Reedley.

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Some views of the Tiny House from outside and inside. It was cozy and interesting, and it was great having our own private beach.

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To any of our botanically-inclined readers, what is this flower? (Present-time spoiler: it looks a lot like what Butchart Gardens calls foxglove. However, when we described it to the people there they said it was more likely bluebell. Looking at pictures, we think it's foxglove.

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The log on the beach where we were able to get phone service. We referred to it as "logging on."

Next entry, our journey to Anacortes and Victoria.

Posted by danielcatherine 01:31 Archived in USA Tagged boats plants whales botany dreams bluebell orcas whale_watching orcas_island irish_pubs authenticity foxglove tiny_house Comments (2)

Day 8 - So Long Seattle, Hello Orcas

semi-overcast 66 °F

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Our night in Seattle was rather difficult for Catherine. The bed was already tall, and was on risers. Since Catherine is short, she had to jump and fling herself up to the bed. Despite the challenge presented by the bed, the room was cozy and we both slept well. Our host for the night even had fresh baked goods from a local bakery for us.

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When we got up, we headed to Pike's Place Market, which was very busy and interesting. We had both thought that it was going to be mostly fish focused, but in fact they had everything, and it was fascinating to walk around and see all the goods for sale. The one thing couldn't find, at first, was people throwing fish.

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Then, we found it! If you look closely at this picture, you can see a fish flying over the man's head.

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We seem to find a lot of interestingly named car washes.

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The line for the ferry to Orcas Island from Anacortes is rather long and frustrating. We were on "standby one." We weren't sure what that meant, so we were very unsure as to whether we would get on the ferry or have to take the next one, which was hours later.

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Apparently, other people have found the line equally frustrating, and the State of Washington has seen fit to protect their employees.

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But, we made it on! Off to Orcas!

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On the ferry. The views of all the islands are spectacular. This area is incredibly beautiful.

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Arrival on Orcas Island. Interestingly, Orcas Island is not named after orca whales (which are common in the area), but rather after Juan Vicente de Güemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo. Orcas is a shortened form of Horcasitas. Nevertheless, if you look at a map of the island it is sort of shaped like an orca, and it seems like too much of a coincidence.

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The farmland on Orcas Island is beautiful. Everything is so green and clean-looking.

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Some views from the Tiny House on the beach, which was a very cozy and pleasant place to stay, but very rustic. Despite the electricity, Catherine called this the "camping" part of the trip. We had our own private beach, with a nice log to sit on and a great view of Obstruction Pass.

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We made our own dinner. We didn't have any beverages with us besides water and Capri Sun, but it all tasted wonderful.

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Orcas Island is full of deer. The deer have no predators on the island, and they apparently swam there from the mainland generations ago. They have been getting smaller and smaller each generation, beginning the process of insular dwarfism. They are also very fearless of humans, and are willing to walk right up to houses, cars, etc. They don't run away, even when you make noise or walk towards them. Catherine believed that they would move if she clapped, and she approached one fairly closely, clapping all the way. She retreated and went the other way when the deer only looked angry. She says that it growled at her.

The next day, whale watching!

Note to Readers: we are behind on blogging due to the lack of internet on Orcas Island. We are in Victoria now, and have full internet access, but it is getting late and we don't have time to update for both days. Hopefully we can get caught up tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 23:25 Archived in USA Tagged ferry seattle deer pasta orcas anacortes pikes_place tall_bed capri_sun insular_dwarfism Comments (2)

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