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TRAVEL JOURNAL INDEX > One Camel, Zero Whales

SanJuan Island, WA  11/07-09/06 (Day 196-198)
One Camel, Zero Whales

After reluctantly checking out of the Inn at Langley (read Karen’s full review of the Inn at Langley for iTraveliShop.com), we hop into our truck for the two hour drive across Whidbey Island and Anacortes Island to the Washington State Ferries  dock to catch the ferry that will take us to nearby San Juan Island. But first, lunch!

We head straight for Toby’s Tavern in Coupeville for some of their world-renowned local Penn Cove mussels…..which our waitress tells us the kitchen is out of. Only momentarily thrown off our game, we order fish and chips instead then continue on our way to the catch the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

Our home on San Juan Island is the Friday Harbor House where the windows in the dining room have been placed just so in order to maximize the view over the tumultuous water and nearby mist-shrouded islands. As we check in, this view allows us to appreciate the full force of the winds that have picked up and are bending trees over, nearly blowing birds out of the sky and whipping the sea around the island up into heart-pounding peaks.

While the view is stunning, the food at Friday Harbor House is the real draw for travelers and locals and during dinner we finally get some of those Penn Cove mussels along with scrumptious fish and lamb dishes and a wine list that is impressive for its selection and its reasonable prices.

The next morning we explore the compact island on winding, undulating roads that take us past fields, through forests and right to the edge of the Puget Sound. At the Lime Kiln State Park Lighthouse we scan the horizon eagerly, but the killer whales that migrate through here seasonally are nowhere to be found. That’s twice they’ve eluded us in as many days. Perhaps that’s why they call them killers.

On our way back to Friday Harbor House we do have a wildlife sighting of a different kind. Driving past a field we notice something that Old McDonald never had on his farm and realize it’s a dromedary munching away contentedly in a field with a white horse. How did a camel end up on San Juan Island and why is it in a field with a horse? We are told that the camel belonged to someone down the road from the farm and it fell in love with the horse. To be near it, the camel kept escaping its own field to go visit the horse. To save wear and tear on everyone, it was decided to simply let the pair move in together.

Something else we aren’t expecting to see on San Juan Island is the Westcott Bay Sculpture Park, 19 meadow-y acres dotted with more than 100 pieces of art, much of it for sale.

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