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San Juan County

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    • Day 197

      Wild Whales Vancouver - Whale Watching

      July 16, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      Ein Punkt auf unserer To Do Liste für Kanada ist Wale gucken. Für den 14.07. (Freitag) hatten wir eine Ausfahrt auf einem Whale Watching Boot bei "Wild Whales Vancouver" gebucht. Teurer Spaß, haben zwar "nur" den Studententarif bezahlt, aber selbst der ist schweineteuer (hatten unglücklicherweise unsere Studentenausweise vergessen). Dafür gibts die Tickets aber mit Wal-Garantie. Da waren wir ja schon mal gespannt wie sie das anstellen wollen. Long story short: Wir haben keinen einzigen Wal gesehen. Es haben sich lediglich ein paar Robben und ein Adler blicken lassen, das wars. Deshalb haben wir Gutscheine bekommen, um kostenlos erneut mitfahren zu dürfen, damit sie auch die Wal-Garantie einhalten können. Aha, so geht das also.

      Wir buchten direkt für Sonntag die erste Tour am Morgen um 9 Uhr. Etwas müde von einer kurzen Nacht und einer 30-minütigen Fahrradstrecke kamen wir erneut bei Wild Whales Vancouver an. Wir kannten bereits unsere Größen für die Ganzkörperanzüge, die bekommt man, wenn man auf einem offenen Boot draußen sitzt, soll vor Wasser und Kälte schützen. Ist auch ziemlich sinnvoll und steht David ausgezeichnet. Julia sieht eher wie ein brennendes Michelin Männchen aus. Aber natürlich auch süß.

      Mit ordentlich Karacho bretterte das Boot mit 20 Personen los. Wir saßen ganz hinten, waren auf dem Boot die einzigen Außenplätze, neben uns 2 sehr nette Münchener Apothekerinnen, die für 9 Wochen eine Rundreise durch Kanada und die USA machen. Ganze 3 Stunden bekamen wir - außer der bezaubernden Landschaft Kanadas - nichts zu sehen. Und wir dachten schon das wird nichts mehr. Auf einmal die freudige Botschaft: 30 Meilen weiter südlich wurden Orcas gesichtet, dort fahren wir hin. Okidoki, ab zur Straße von Georgia. In Kanada darf man sich mit den Booten um die 100 Meter an die Tiere nähern. Wenn man näher ranfährt und die Wasserpolizei das mitbekommt muss man Strafe zahlen.

      Und dann, in der Ferne: Orcas! Alle ganz freudig "Wir wollen näher ran!" Tja, zu dem Zeitpunkt befanden wir uns jedoch schon in amerikanischen Gewässern und da gilt die Regel 180 Meter Abstand. Buh! Und die Wasserpolizei war auf einem Kleinboot direkt am Start und beobachtete das Treiben der Boote. Mit bloßem Auge konnte man die Orcas gut sehen und auch die Wasserwolken, die sie beim Auftauchen auspusten, aber auf Kamera: Pustekuchen. Da irgendwo in dem Bild ist eine schwarze Flosse. Das ist "Wo-ist-Walter?" auf höchstem Niveau. Waren also etwas enttäuscht. Dann jedoch die Info: Wir fahren wieder in die entgegengesetzte Richtung, da wurden 20 Orcas gesichtet. Ja nee ist klar. Die Säcke wollen uns doch nur aufmuntern.

      45 Minuten später - wir nutzen die Zeit um unser mitgebrachtes Mittag zu vertilgen und etwas zu schlafen, so gut das eben neben einem Motor geht - kamen wir bei der besagten Stelle an. Stille, aber 3 andere Boote. Gutes Zeichen. Und bäm ging es los: Um die 20 Orcas aufgeteilt in 3 Familien zeigten ihre pechschwarzen Rückenflossen und schwammen gemeinsam in eine Richtung. Hammer. Man hörte ständig "Oh", "Ah" und "Mann ist das ein riesiges Männchen!". Die Männchen haben nämlich die lange, nach oben stehende Flosse und diese kann 2 Meter lang sein. Fällt zwischen den eher kleineren, weiblichen Rückenflossen ordentlich auf. Alle schauten gebannt aufs Wasser und immer wenn die Tiere sich zeigten, liefen die Kameras auf Hochturen. Was eine Freude. David musste schon ganze Zeit pinkeln und als sich dann die Stimmung etwas beruhigte und die Wale bereits etwas weiter weg waren, ging er aufs Klo. Wie der Zufall es will: Ganz genau in diesem Moment taucht 15 Meter neben dem Boot ein Orca auf. Aus nächster Nähe konnte man nun die tolle schwarz-weiße Färbung des Tieres sehen. Julia vergas im ersten Moment ein Foto zu machen und dachte an Davids Gesicht, wenn er gleich davon erfährt. Herrje. Der Orca war natürlich schon wieder abgetaucht, als David zurück kam. Alle sprachen noch völlig aufgedreht von dem Erlebnis und dass er ja so nah dran war. Davids Gesichtsausdruck hielt sich in Grenzen. Trotzdem ein wahnsinnig schönes Erlebnis. Diese Tiere so nah zu erleben und zu hören, wenn sie das Wasser rauspusten beim Hochkommen, einfach Hammer.

      Mit etwas Seegang und viel Spritzwasser ging es zurück zum Vancouver Hafen. Ganze 6 Stunden ging der Ausflug. Erschöpft und etwas schwankend vom Boot, ging es wieder auf die Räder zurück zur Wohnung von Dorothy und Nino. Jetzt erstmal ein kühles Getränk und Bilder gucken.

      P.s.: Das geile Bild (nicht das von David, sondern vom Orca) ist von der Agentur Wild Whales Vancouver geschossen worden.
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    • Day 33

      Free Joey

      July 31, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

      Today marked the final travel separation from my dear friend and travel companion Kate. Kate has been the most wonderful friend and travel companion a girl could ask for. When life hit a major bump in the road at the start of the year the possibility of joining Kate on her loosely planned adventures helped see me through some really dark days. I said from the outset that I didn't know for sure if i would get to embark on such an adventure but boy am I glad that I did. I'm not usually one for believing in 'things happen for a reason' but events of this year may just sway me on that. Kate is incredibly wise and thoughtful as well as being funny and kind. We have had such an amazing time together. Nothing quite prepared me for the shock wave of emotion that hit when we said goodbye from our last Uber together at Pier 69. I kid you not, I didn't stop crying for nearly an hour. I'm tearing up again now just thinking about it. Neither of us would have been on this very adventure without the other. Kate's original plans entailed several Trek America tours but having a buddy who was willing to drive opened up the possibilities and we did far more together than either one of us would have done separately. Kate was now off to Vancouver to pick up her 3 week tour across Canada. I was originally supposed to fly home from Seattle. However, when it came to booking flights a little monkey on my shoulder (let's call her Jane!) started pondering the possibilities of travelling solo back across Canada on the trains and back to NY where I started. This would be the least prepared and itinerarised segment of the adventure but I was equally excited about it. They say travelling solo is something everyone should do once in their life so this would be my go at it.

      I had a very special day planned today. I was off to the San Juan Islands in search of Orcas. I can't lie, I have been a little obsessed with the fear inducing but beautiful whales since Free Willy hit the cinemas in the early 90s. The obsession continued long into adulthood whilst I avidly followed the campaigns against Sea World and went to the cinema alone (something I do rarely) to see Black Fish which documents the life of the Orcas in captivity that have attacked their trainers - fatally or otherwise. Needless to say it has been a life long dream of mine to see them in the wild so I had high hopes for today.

      The journey to San Juan was just short of three hours. Once the none whale watching passengers disembarked at Friday Harhor we set off on our whale watching adventures. I was fortunate to make two new friends - Maggie and Alison whilst securing our spots on the top deck. The San Juan Islands are stunning. If anyone saw Free Willy 2 - this is where it was shot. It wasn't long before our boat found a pod of transient Orcas. I could barely breathe. They were so majestic the way they glid through the water. Of course, unlike all the photographs we see, it is rare that we get to see the whales venture far out of the water. However after taking over 800 photos I did manage to get a couple which 'showed their faces'. We were fortunate enough to see a couple of calves too. Sadly no breaches or spy hops though. That being said, we did watch a seal basking in the sun to find moments later it was gone and was subsequently shared amongst the pod for lunch. Nothing like a live David Attenbrough show to keep you entertained.

      After over 2 hours of watching the Orcas we returned to Friday Harbor for a few hours onshore to browse the shops and enjoy the local ice cream. I indulged in a scoop of 'Moose Tracks' which was only slightly regretted as it contained mini reeses peanut butter cups and I do not to peanuts. Somehow I survived.

      Being one of the first to reboard the vessel I grabbed a good table seat and kept an eye out for Maggie and Alison to join me. Meanwhile I was joined by Nathan who had spent time with family on the Island and was returning back to work in Seattle. The girls and I decided as we had a 3 hour trip back to the Emerald City we would indulge in the very reasonable on board wine and discounted snacks. By the time we hit the second bottle, Nathan had put down his book and joined in too.

      We met a group of girls from Boston that had just spent 5 days on the Island kayaking in search of the resident pods and had not seen a single whale. We couldn't help but feel a little guilty! Not long after we cast off and were heading back through the islands, the boat stopped it's engines and we were called to the deck. Another pod had surfaced and was heading right for us. These came far closer than the previous pods and we even got a little spy hop out of one. Sadly despite the image count on my camera I somehow missed it. Still we were really pleased that the Boston girls got to see some at last!

      On getting back to Seattle, our little crew decided to go and grab dinner together. It transpired we were all living/staying near Green Lake so we grabbed an Uber and enjoyed some more wine and some delicious food before I headed back to our Air BnB minus Kate.

      I was pleased to finally meet our other host, Kailie who I had been communicating with prior to the trip and had kindly arranged for me to be able to stay an extra night in their office to stop me finding alternative accommodation for my last night in Seattle. I also had the pleasure of meeting their pooch - Mr Brojangles! I was sad to see my Seattle adventures drawing to a close but I'd be seeing it off in style the next morning.
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    • Wale!

      May 23, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

      Was wäre der Pazifik ohne Walbeobachtung. Nur ist die hier in Canada vom Schiff aus sehr teuer. Warum also nicht von Land? Möglich ist das auf Saturna, weil die Wale in der Gezeitenstöming den ganzen Sommer Nahrung finden und z.T nur 20 von der Küste weg unterwegs sind. Ich würde sagen: check!Read more

    • Day 6

      Clarke Island

      July 2, 2020 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 55 °F

      Another rainy day and not much wind. Yet we had some time to practice our sailing skills and I did some tacking and jibing. I also motored us up to the mooring ball where we spent the night at Clarke Island after an adventurous hike and a jolly dinner of wine, cheese and salami around a camp fire.Read more

    • Day 4

      Too Tired To Update

      April 4, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

      I forgot to post so much over the last few days but it has been a blast. We threw Allen a birthday party. Went on a fun field trip. I went home over the weekend and grabbed a bunch of stuff I forgot to bring with me before.Read more

    • Day 1–3

      Poets Cove Resort

      April 24 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

      The hotel we're staying at for 2 nights pn South Pender Island. Due to last winter's storm damage, the road to get there is closed from 10 am to 2 pm daily for repairs. Hence, the stop for lunch on North Pender Island. After the road opened, we made our way there. First, we drove to the end of the road, to Gowland Point. After arriving at the hotel, the rain stopped just long enough for us to get into the pool.Read more

    • Day 17

      Robinson Crusoe of the Gulf Islands

      August 19, 2019 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      I have had a very pleasant stay on Saturna Island. Saturna island is the way I thought all Gulf Islands should be. It is fairly sparsely populated with 60 percent of the island owned by Parks Canada. As it is much more sparsely populated than the other Gulf Islands, I had to travel from Pender back to Schwartz Bay to get there. It took all day. I did have a very interesting conversation with a Russian man from Vladistock Russia who now is a first engineer on the large ferry that runs from Sidney to Vancouver.

      I was very fortunate to have stayed my 4 nights at the Saturna Lodge a boutique hotel on the island. I had tried to book at the Breezy Bay BnB but they took 6 weeks to get back to me which I thought was a bad sign. I went and checked it out and it wasn't as nice as the Saturna despite having a nicer website. The power of the internet to distort reality. Laura who runs and owns the lodge is a fire cracker of a person. She has endless energy. Originally from Surrey she had worked in the tech sector in Seattle and San Francisco. She drives a Lexus convertible. About six years ago Laura purchased the place and has been upgrading it. She has obviously brought some more worldly ideas to the lodge and island. I wonder if she has ruffled some feathers of the people on the island in doing so. The Saturnia that I have met seem to be moving much slower than Laura. I really wonder the motivation behind people who after retiring from one career take on the the responsibility of running such a place. Laura strikes me as someone who can't sit still.

      My first evening on the island I bicycled out to Narvaez Point which was about an hour away from Saturna Lodge. I met Ida a BCIT student from Guelph Ontario heading out on her bike to Narvaez bay. It was nice to have some one to bike with and talk to. At the point, I left Ida and wandered around. It was very scenic. It looked like a farm had been located there at one time. No whales. I biked back through the forest to the lodge.

      On my second day on Saturna, I biked out to the east point about 18 k from the lodge. It took me about 1.5 hours. The point is the location of a lighthouse and is now a Parks Canada site. They had two of the red parks Canada chairs. I told a woman who had a place on the island and came and sat beside me that it would make my day if I saw a whale. She thought that I had a slight chance. The point is supposedly known for whales but having biked by many whale watching signs I have become skeptical that one would ever see a whale from such a location. She left and I sat reading my book in the red chair. After a while I noticed a flotilla of boats off shore. The chairs were located in the shade next to a building converted into a small museum. They loaned out binoculars which I borrowed and off in the distance I could make out Hump back whales surfacing and blowing in the water. They were quite far off but just the same I saw some whales. Some people asked me what type they were. I told them I was from Alberta and that I had no idea. The boats left and I lost interest. I wandered the point a little and then came back to sit in the chair. It was occupied so I sat on a nearby bench and started reading my book again. After about 15 minutes someone shouted Orcas. I jumped up and there were four Orca whales swimming and surfacing only 25 metres off shore. In my excitement, I forgot to start the video on my phone and only caught literally the tail end them with my camera. It was spectacular. The world was finally coming to me. I continued sitting there hoping they would come back. They never did but a Bald Eagle carrying a huge fish flew over. A navy frigate went by and a helicopter flew over very low. It was my most exciting day of the trip.

      My third day of the trip I had booked another little kayak trip. When I turned up at 1 I was the only person booked on the trip. Their policy was to take the tour even if only one person was booked. It was very pleasant to be back on the water paddling and seeing the shore from the kayaks. Cedric my guide from Victoria was pleasant to chat with. Very strangely he had never heard of the Alberta oilsands. I thought he was pulling my leg at first but no it was for real.

      My last day on the island was my hiking day. Laura gave me a ride up War Burton ridge. The ridge went along the entire length of the south island and commanded wonderful views looking out over Pender Island. I walked along the ridge pretty well the entire way to Narvaez bay before catching a fire road back to the road which I had to walk on to get back.It was still early in the afternoon. I met some people at the grocery store who were heading out to east point. I had nothing to do so I caught a ride with them back to east point seeing that I had such an exciting time there before. When I was out on east point I saw some hump back whales but they were farther off in the distance then Friday and with the binoculars you could just make them out spouting. I started discussing books with a couple of American women who had retired to Mexico. They didn't like visiting the states. They were up visiting their friends who had retired to Victoria from the US foreign service. They were good enough to give me a ride back in their little Honda Civic. They all detested Donald Trump.

      I have spent so much time on these Gulf Islands alot of it by myself that I am starting to feel like a modern day Robinson Crusoe. I am also starting to have some pretty unusual thoughts. Things I never thought about when I was at home in Alberta. I have been thinking that perhaps global warming is real. I sometimes think that we should be burning less carbon and that a carbon tax would be a good idea. I know these are crazy ideas but I can't stop thinking about them. Maybe when I get back to Alberta I will need some type of government counseling. Would conversion therapy work to rid oneself of these environmental ideas. Maybe that is why the province of Alberta won't get rid of it.

      I am now off to Saltspring Island to visit our friends Rob and Norma. I always tell Rob and Norma that they have the best Air BnB on the island so I am looking forward to the visit.

      I have read another 2.5 books since my last update. I read Tara Westover's biography about growing up with a dysfunctional survivalist Mormon family and about her difficulty letting go of the family despite their significant dysfunction. I read a book called Bad Blood about a start up company called Theranos in Palo Alto California who had tricked people into believing that they had developed a method of laboratory testing only requiring a pinprick of blood. Through business and political connections, legal threats and a dynamic president known as Elizabeth Holmes and intimidation, they were able to maintain this serade for ten years before being exposed by a writer for the WSJ. They were able to raise 900 million dollars from investors. It was a very well written book. Finally I am working my way through the book called Wilding. The book is about rewilding an estate in Sussex. Rewilding is letting the land revert to it's original form which allows the return of natural plant and animal species. It is what I believe my neighbours are doing in Edmonton. I always thought they were too busy to do yard work however having started to read the book I believe that they are just rewilding their property by letting all the weeds grow even if some of the weeds are invasive non resident species. In fact they are so successful with rewilding their property that they were able to attract a family of skunks to live under their porch. My other neighbour Synovia was quite upset with the skunks but hopefully when I loan her the book on my return she will understand the wisdom of rewilding. I see my role in the neighbourhood as that of a peacekeeper.
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    • Day 9

      Sucia Island

      July 5, 2020 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 59 °F

      We motored from Bellingham Harbor to Sucia island today, leaving at 10 am and arriving at 2pm. We were lucky to get one of the 12 mooring balls. Andy was at the helm leaving our slip and bringing the boat up to the mooring ball. It was a beautiful day today but not enough wind to go sailing. However we saw some seals and dolphins on the way. Andy did some trolling along the way but without success. He took the kayak out ad went for a paddle when we made it to Sucia. The plan is to stay here for two nights and do some beach combing and hiking. Terry and Don are making dinner- we are having chicken and baked potato! Tonight was a full moon and Jupiter just to the right of it.Read more

    • Day 3

      Low Tide in front of Patti's house

      September 18, 2021 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      Berlinger beach is Patti's! At low tide we got a chance to walk down and look for cool stuff...saw cool rock formations...sea weed I have never seen before...then looking up from below gave us a great view from the water up to Patti's house.... beautiful home.Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    San Juan County, مقاطعة سان خوان, Сан Хуан, সান জুয়ান কাউন্টি, Kantono San Juan, Condado de San Juan, San Juan konderria, شهرستان سن خوان، واشینگتن, Comté de San Juan, San Juan megye, Contea di San Juan, サンフアン郡, 샌환 군, San Juan Kūn, Hrabstwo San Juan, سان جوان کاؤنٹی، واشنگٹن, Comitatul San Juan, Сан-Хуан, Округ Сан Хуан, سان خوان کاؤنٹی، واشنگٹن, Quận San Juan, Condado han San Juan, 圣胡安县

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