After a sleepless night for me we woke up bright and early Monday morning to make it to the dock by 8:30 for a special Northwest treat: whale watching. I guess I'm grateful that Travis and I have different traveling styles because I normally just show up somewhere and find out what to do later, while he actually plans things ahead of time. Hence and whale watching tip.
We loaded up on the Glacier Spirit, the tour boat used by Puget Sound Express. If you're ever near Port Townsend, go ahead and look them up. They serve unlimited coffee and Grandma's recipe for blueberry buckle on that boat. AND we saw an ass ton of wildlife.
First sighting was a Minke whale in the distance. They only surface for air once, and then might not re-emerge until they've swum a mile away. The captain us all to keep a look out and tell him if we saw anything, and eventually he got a call over the radio that orcas had been spotted. There are three pods of resident orcas that live near the San Juan Islands just off the coast of Port Townsend. This was the L pod, which is the largest and is headed by a 103 year old matriarch named Granny.
I've only seen orcas in Sea World, and after having followed this pod throughout the morning it makes me even more depressed to think about orcas in captivity. These whales were having the time of their lives-- eating fish, jumping out of the water, participating in adult extra curricular activities. They are social animals and they belong in the ocean, and I'm glad the era of whale and dolphin capturing is over, at least in the US.
We stopped at Friday Harbor for lunch, a farming turned tourist town on one of the San Juan Islands. It was then that I realized why I hadn't slept the night before: around 6pm I hate eaten two Cliff Bar Shot Bloks, little energy gummies each containing the amount of caffeine equivalent to a shot of espresso. After lunch, I just had to go to sleep. The rhythm of the boat moving, the drone of the engine, the patchy sunshine... Travis tells me there was a Stellar sea lion, harbor seals and a tufted puffin, but I was too exhausted.
Luckily Travis had drank enough unlimited coffee to stay perky and chit chat with out booth neighbors, a retired Air Force mechanic and his wife, Sherry, a head start teacher. I was mostly unconscious and Travis has a terrible memory, so we can't remember the mechanic's name. They had just relocated to Washington and had finished up a cross country road trip, and took this whale tour to explore their own region. Travis must have made quite an impression on them, because they paid our boat fare, which was not cheap. It is sometimes quite amazing how strangers will do very VERY nice things for you. So thank you again you two, hope you have fun adventures exploring your new neck of the woods.