August 20-23, 2013 – Anacortes, WA
We left Squamish Tuesday morning and drove through Vancouver one more time (we are glad this is the last time as we do not like driving through big cities), We breezed through the border into Washington at the crossing at Aldergrove. It only took us about 30 minutes and most of that time was waiting in line. We stopped at Edaleen Dairy just across the border and got some great ice cream and cheese. We continued on to Anacortes which is on Fidalgo Island and are staying at Fidalgo Bay Resort - the sites are a little narrow but otherwise it is very nice. Fidalgo Bay is just on the other side of the resort from our camp site so we are able to walk the dogs along the beach every day.
Wednesday we went to the Visitor Center and got information about the area. We talked to a really nice gentleman who told us about kayaking in the area and gave us some information about a couple of places to go where we can get some great views. We drove to the top of Mt. Erie and got a great view of Lake Campbell and Skagit Bay.
We then drove to Cap Sante Park and got a great view of Fidalgo Bay Resort where we are camped.
We also got to see Mt. Baker in the distance – this is a very beautiful area.
After dinner we launched the kayaks on the boat dock in the RV park and paddled around the bay for a couple of hours. This was our first time kayaking in salt water - we enjoyed it a lot.
Thursday we went on a six hour whale watching cruise aboard the Mystic Sea. The Mystic Sea was the Warner Brothers official shoot boat for 3 months during the filming of Free Willy 2.
Traffic was a little crowded but we finally got out of the harbor and on our way through the San Juan Islands.
We spotted some Harbor Seals and their pups sunning on the rocks along one of the islands. They are very well camouflaged and it is hard to pick them out among the rocks.
After cruising through the islands and crossing into Canadian waters, we finally spotted a group of about 15 Orca Whales.
The Orcas gave us a great show with lots of breaching, tail slapping and flipper waving.
There were a lot of boats watching the whales – tour boats, private boats, this sail boat and even a huge cargo ship sailed by.
We watched the Orcas for about 45 minutes to an hour and they kept us entertained almost the entire time.
Our captain said that this was one of the best days they have had for a long time. We were very fortunate to witness these beautiful whales in action.
Back in the harbor as we were walking back to the parking lot we found this little jellyfish swimming around beside the dock.
Next to the docks was this “Lady of the Sea” statue dedicated to those who work and play in the sea, and the families and friends who wait for them. There was also a memorial for the residents of Anacortes who have lost their lives working on the sea. There were names on the memorial dating from the early 1800s and had two names from 2013.
We had a great time on our cruise and are so excited that we got to see Orcas and Harbor Seals.
Friday we took a drive to Whidbey Island which is the second largest island in the US and is off the south end of Fidalgo Island. We stopped at Deception Pass which is the waterway between Fidalgo and Whidbey islands.
We stopped at a parking area in the middle of Deception Bridge and walked across the bridge where we got a great view of the Saratoga Passage.
The current under the bridge was very strong as the tide was coming in.
At the end of the bridge we were able to walk under the bridge to the other side where we had a great view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Salish Sea.
We drove farther down the island and stopped at Fort Casey State Park. We walked to the Admiralty Head Lighthouse. Built in 1860, the first lighthouse was a small wooden building with a central light tower. In the 1890’s the US decided to fortify the entrance to Puget Sound and because the lighthouse stood on the most desirable spot for a gun battery, the old lighthouse had to be moved. The new lighthouse was built in its present location in 1902. The lighthouse has 18 inch thick brick walls covered with stucco. With three bedrooms upstairs and a living room dining room and kitchen downstairs, it was known as one of the most comfortable houses on the west coast.
After touring the lighthouse we walked over to the Fort Casey gun batteries. Construction of the fort began in 1897 and was completed in 1907. Fort Casey, along with Fort Worden and Fort Flagler on the other side of Admiralty Inlet formed a triangle of defense to guard against hostile warships. The forts were built to protect the US Navy shipyard at Bremerton and the cities along the Puget Sound. Fort Casey had seven 10-inch rifled guns, twelve additional guns of varied size and sixteen 12-inch mortars. Rex is leaning on a 10 inch gun.
The Fire Control Stations had great views of the Admiralty Inlet and any ships that might be on the water – here we are sighting in on a Washington State Ferry.