My Rambling Journal

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. Henry Ellis ****************************************************************** Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Day Two - San Juan Island

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington

We actually arrived here the previous evening and had a local musician come aboard after dinner to entertain us. He played guitar and had a fondness for Paul Simon songs. An interesting character with a quirky sense of humor, he gave us little peek into what our day here might bring. The audience was very small and dwindled quickly as passengers wandered off to their cabins to sleep. This is not a very lively crowd...we MUST do something to fix this!

Meeting all my new friends for a fabulous breakfast, we all seemed to have slept much better and are ready for another adventure today. The weather is a bit cloudy and drizzly this morning but we are all well prepared for this as it IS the Pacific Northwest and a little rain won't hurt us!

The bus tour of Friday Harbor is not scheduled to begin until 10:30 the morning, so many passengers decide to make a walk into town before the tour. So, up the wharf we go in our rain gear to see what there is to see. I have grouped up by now with a couple of agents : Nancy from Kentucky and Diana from Oklahoma city. We are also joined this morning by Bill from Boise who will later become a welcome companion and protector of our little band of girls.

Friday Harbor is a small, quaint town with much to offer. Restaurants, bars, museums, and shopping are abundant on the main street and beyond. Most of the stores are not open yet, but window shopping is o.k. for now. A couple of passengers call out to me from about a block away to show me where the yarn shop is....I had worn one of my scarves last night at dinner and gotten rave reviews. The town is pretty much abandoned this morning, save for the cruise ship passengers wandering the streets, but the place is obviously a busy summer destination for area boaters.

The town is located on a hill overlooking the harbor and has a great view from the small city park located above the harbor.

Real Estate office windows show many homes for sale on the Island and the prices look average to high to me. Living on an island like this can't be too easy for year-round residents and it appears that many of the homes here are vacation or summer homes.

We boarded the buses for a tour of San Juan Island. Our driver was a local character who had an apparent fear of shaving the sides of his face.....his greying sideburns curled around the sides of his face like a wisp of the fog which draped the islands.
He was also quite opionionated regarding the booming Real Estate business on the island.

As we wound around the island roads, our driver spun a story about the history of the island which soon became a monologue about the 'pig war'. It was interesting at first, but drawing this simple story into and hour long tale soon became very boring. We were longing to see the Orca whales who lived in these waters, but the season for prime whale watching was done. I did spot 3 whale tails in the water, but the driver was more intent on his tale of the 'pig war' so many of the others missed the sighting.

We had a stop on the trip at the main park on San Juan Island. This was the filming site of the movie "Practical Magic", starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock and Nicole reportedly has a home on the island. Wonderful views of the bays and the changing fall colors were available here.

Back on the bus, continuing to drone on about the damned 'PIG WAR', we passed by a large lavender farm, (but NO STOP!) and then on to the Alpaca farm.....YES! This is where I had really wanted to go! These are adorable animals related to the llama. They are raised for their fur which is spun into fabulous yarns...The farm had a store full of alpaca products: sweaters, coats, hats, scarves, and YARN! many of the passengers were enthralled with the animals and the products and the farm sold many items today....I bought some yarn and a couple of patterns.

Returning to the ship, I am tempted to close my eyes and nod off as the drivers continues to drone on and on about the 'pig'war' would have been an interesting story, had I not read about it in my tour book and if he had not felt the need to talk of nothing else....surely there are other interesting island stories!

Lunch onboard ship and then we are off on another bus tour. This time we head up to the north end of the island to Roche Harbor. We carefully choose our bus this afternoon to experience a different driver. This one had many more things to show us and talk about, including the methods of oyster farming which is a major industry of the island. It is raining now and the idea was to go on a nature walk here. Some people decide to go on the walk, but my little group opted to stay right here at the harbor and walk around. The shops are all closed up for the season now, but it is easy to see how this cozy harbor would be a welcome stop for boaters and a great honymoon destination. The whitewashed buildings and white picket fences enclosing lush gardens make this harbor inviting indeed. The Hotel Haro saw duty as a Hudson's Bay Trading Post in the 1850's and later hosted Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

Back to the ship, we pull out of the mooring on San Juan Island , bound for Vancouver Island and the seat of government for British Columbia, Victoria.


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