So, I had Tuesday off - and on a tip from Erica Schumacher, I took the ferry from Anacortes as a walk-on passenger.
Cormorants had taken up residence in the moorings, as a safe place to raise their young.
It's pretty exciting when this huge thing that I'm standing on starts to move away from the dock.
I walked to the other end, so that I could see where I was going - rather than where I'd been. I was surprised about how fast it moved, considering its size. The island scenery is unbelievable. A camera can't capture the scale, depth and the 'feel' of the vistas.
The ferries are "push me - pull me" kind of things. They can load from either end, which can be either the front or the back. There are pilot houses at both ends that provide power and steering.
The area is dotted with lots of small islands - which are privately owned, I was told. Meg and I own an island here in Kentucky, but it looks nothing like this.
Our first stop was Lopez Island.
And then Shaw Island.
Right across was Orcas Island, where everybody had to depart for about an hour. A good way to drum up business for the only grocery store. My choices for lunch included either a bagel with alfalfa sprouts and a slice of tomato for $7, or a big slab of barbecued ribs for $3.50.
As I enjoyed my lunch on the beach, my new-found friend knew that I'd made the right choice. He's not a vegetarian, either.
I caught a different ferry that was going to Friday Harbor. My intent was to catch a whale watching tour out to Lime Kiln Point. But, I arrived too late for any tours leaving out that afternoon.
I caught a 3rd ferry out of Friday Harbor and started the journey back. They took a different route than what I'd already taken. Normally, I have a good sense of direction, but I was soon turned around as we wound our way around islands.
I had to transfer to a 4th ferry at Shaw for the return trip back to Anacortes. We passed this freight tug, which shares some characteristics with our riverboats. (some...). About the time that I turned the camera off after this shot, a seal popped his head up near by, looked at me, and was gone.
All-in-all, a great way to spend the day. Good call, Erica!
There are 2 other postings below that show more of the Oak Harbor experience. I'll be adding more soon, so check back often.