Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Washington Trip~ Day Six, Thursday, July 25th~

We ate breakfast, packed-up our (rental) van, and drove to Anacortes, Washington!
We were going on a whale-watching tour aboard Island Explorer 3.
We arrived 40 minutes before departure, so the best seats were taken.
We had brought along our lunch and snacks, since the tour would take about 5 hours total.
We wondered what we would see! With it being the end of July, we had a great chance of seeing Orca or Minke Whales, Porpoises, Seals, and Eagles & Seabirds.
I downloaded this map off Google, to show where we explored (ignore dotted path-that wasn't us)!
Beginning at Anacortes, we went up around Guemes Island, and then snaked between  the Lopez, San Juan Islands and the smaller nameless ones. We went close to the Canadian border, then turned right and went around Orcas Islands. We returned to Anacortes a different way, creating  a (very) loose figure-8 shape.
The scenery was absolutely beautiful!!!!

I don't know which islands are which, in my photos ....
 .... but I hope you enjoy!!
 Mt Baker is the large snow-topped mountain.

The waves were from our boat; the waters were very nice & calm. :)
We walked along the outside of the boat, and loved every moment.
A "never-ending" breeze chilled to the bone on the shady side, so most people on board migrated to the sunny sides. :)
Others stayed inside the boat's cabin to stay out of the wind.
Our family went back and forth between the cabin and deck, and spent most of our time outside in the sun.
We quickly learned to share narrow, small spaces, and patiently took turns at the front of the boat. When folks crowded near one section of the boat for a photo opportunity or to look through binoculars, we all practiced good manners.  :)

I did not take photos from the upper deck, but we enjoyed exploring it, too!
There, Richard spoke with the captain of the boat, and discovered it was the first day since March, that no whales could be seen.
They must have known we were coming, and hid!  :) :)
Not seeing whales was disappointing, but the experience of viewing God's incredible creation, was totally worth it [since they guarantee seeing whales, we can go back another time- even years later- for a complimentary whale tour].

The sparkling water, and the waves bouncing off the boat were quite mesmerizing. We were transported into a different world full of amazing scenery.
Photos did not capture the serenity and beauty!!!

Isn't the tiny boat on the left cute?
Ashlyn slept through the first half of our boating experience!
She was very tired; partly because of the Pacific time difference, and partly out of excited anticipation. :)

No whales ... but we saw seals, and lots of them!!!   :)   
We also saw Eagles, a few Sea birds, and Porpoises (smaller than dolphins)! :)
I was not fast enough to snap good photos, though.

This was our view into Canada!

More pics of Mt Baker, on our way back to Anacortes.

Ashlyn was finally awake to enjoy the sights, too.
 Our boat trip came to an end, and we decided it was our favorite excursion.  :)

Back on dry land, we headed toward "Deception Pass"- the name was given by an early explorer.
Had we gone across the bridge, we would have been on Whidbey Island.

We headed toward the Bellingham, Washington area, anticipating Richard's boyhood landmarks and memories. The years he spent in Washington shaped who he was, having lived there from age 9 until age 16.

Once we arrived, we checked into our hotel with sleepy kids in tow...
 .... then headed out again (they perked up!).
The navigation on Richard's iPhone slowed his phone service, so we were quite grateful we had brought TomTom along on our trip. Many times, we would have been terribly lost in Washington without it.
When we reached Bellighman, however, we no longer needed TomTom, because Richard suddenly knew where everything was!!  Wohoo!
It was wonderful that he remembered how to find the the Peace Arch Park on the US/Canada border.
We did not have passports, but desired to see what we could of Canada.
[One needs a parking pass ("Disovery Pass") for all State Parks, by the way. Even though an annual pass costs $30 (vs $10 day pass), it's well worth it when visiting a lot of State Parks during vacation ...and it's good for one year in case you return ...].

The United States marker ...
... and the other side of the marker ... Canada!

The US side

Walking through the arch to the Canadian side
Hello, Canada!! Even just for a little while ...   :)
Now our kids can say they were in Canada. :)
This was the only location one could step into Canada without having a passport.
We thought it was cool, by the way, that the St Louis Arch was on the USA welcome sign.
In the park, we found this huge penny with Lincoln on it ...

... and on the other side, the Queen of England!
Both sides were penny mosaics, made with each country's pennies!!

This ditch near a playground, separated US from Canada; the houses are Canadian in the photo below. If the boys had jumped over the ditch, they would have been in Canada.
No worries- there were security guards watching for those who might try jumping ... so we just took pictures on the US side.  :)
Richard has many boyhood memories of crossing the US/Canada border. His dad pastored a church in Chiliwack, Canada, the reason they lived in Washington for 7 years.
I was thrilled Richard remembered the Peace Arch Park, and could share it with us. :)
On the road again, I couldn't believe my eyes. Wild blackberry bushes really were everywhere- just as Richard said. My husband had not been exaggerating!   :)
We stopped along the Interstate to eat fresh blackberries ... Mmm, good!
 Yes, we love Washington blackberries!

 Oh- that's right! We needed a picture of Washington's sign, too!

One last stop before turning in for the night ...
Richard had fond memories of stopping at Arco gas stations to eat corn dogs and/or cheeseburgers.  :)

Where else in the world could one choose his own toppings for a cheeseburger?! Very cool! 
They weren't the best cheeseburgers in the world, but being able to choose our toppings, and share in Richard's memories was a wonderful experience.  :)

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