San Juan Island

As much as I love the city of Seattle, after a week I was itching to get out of the city and into the field -- there are just so much nature in the Pacific Northwest! Instead of looking west to Mount Rainier and the Cascades, this time we turned our eyes to the east -- the Puget Sound.

(Click on each image to see the high-resolution version)

We took the Victoria Clipper to San Juan Island on this day. The ferry went through the Deception Pass, where the water from Skagit Bay and part of Puget Sound through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Because of confluence of the cold currents, this part of the sound is treacherous most of the time.

Deception Pass

But some Harbor Seals were resting on the rocks, unborthered by the wind and mist.

Harbor Seals

Luckily for us, the sky cleared as we arrived in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

Friday Harbor

We had only a few hours to spare on the island, so we grabbed a taxi to go to Lime Kiln Point State Park. Greeted us were these beautiful Pacific Madrones.

Pacific Madrone

The landmark in this park is the Lime Kiln Point lighthouse, which directly faces the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Lime Kiln Point lighthouse

Lime Kiln Point lighthouse

Lime Kiln Point lighthouse

Lime Kiln Point lighthouse

It was delightful to look out to the strait and see the green islands under white, cumulus clouds between blue sky and sea.

San Juan Islands

Just then a Song Sparrow appeared right in front of me. Though not a new bird, it was always a delight to see this little friend.

Song Sparrow

As we wrapped up our walk, totally unexpecedly, a whale appeared just offshore (I think this is a Minke Whale). This was undoubtedly icing on the cake for this wonderful day.

Minke Whale

Probably only a millionth, or even a billionth, the weight of a whale, a roadside beauty caught my eye -- I think this is a California Poppy.

California Poppy

Unfortunately, we had to leave the park to catch the ferry back to Seattle. The sailboat picture below was taken on the ferry back.


A picture from the back of the Victoria Clipper, which served us well. I would -- I know I will -- take the trip again.


As we drew close to Seattle, Mount Rainier again dominated the western sky.

Mount Rainier

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