Just got back from a much needed trip to the San Juan Islands. I say much needed because a) we're always antsy to travel and b) this trip was the first vacation Justin's gotten in the six months since he started his residency program. Bummer that it was just one week, but we'll take that over no break at all! A week is too short for an international trip (at least in our opinion) and so we looked closer to home and chose the San Juan Islands, located off the coast of Washington. There's a great ferry system that links the more populated islands, and all of the ferries are capable of carrying cars. So we took our car on a ferry from the town of Anacortes to Shaw Island, where some family owns a small cabin. Since we spent most of our time reading and walking around the island, I won't bore you with those details. Instead, I'll just overload you with photos.
Something that I find interesting about Shaw Island is that some nuns moved to the island in 1976 and founded the Our Lady of the Rock Monastery. They also ran the general store and ferry terminal up until 2004. Justin still remembers visiting Shaw Island and seeing the nuns in their habits with safety vest over the top assisting with the docking and unloading of the ferries! Priceless. Apparently they've been a bit shady though, with lots of stories circulating on the island of the nuns offering to help take care of elderly residents and then putting immense pressure on them to donate their land and money to the monastery when they die. Of course this may or may not be true since it's not a firsthand account, but who wouldn't want to hear some Shaw Island gossip?
On one of our last days we braved the mid 30 degree weather and took out a sea kayak. I was convinced that it was going to be windy and I'd be freezing cold, so I wore long underwear, gloves, hat, wool socks, and my heavy duty down jacket. Needless to say, since we weren't kayaking amongst an ice floe in Alaska, I was drenched in sweat after about ten minutes of brisk paddling. I convinced Justin to beach so that I could ditch some of my gear, but as soon as we did the wind picked up and quickly evaporated all that sweat, leaving me way to cold to do anything but take off my gloves. Justin is a patient man.
Since we had a bit of a drive to get home we decided to take the early morning ferry from Shaw Island to Anacortes. While we were waiting at the dock I slipped out of the car and ran down to the water to take some pictures in the enchanting pre-dawn light. What I really wanted to capture was the tendrils of fog hanging over the water, but sadly it just didn't show up. I kept trying different things and was so intent on getting the shot that I barely noticed in time that cars were already being loaded onto the ferry. I ran back and jumped into the car just in time to drive on board. Even though it was icy cold and windy, I spent the duration of the ferry ride out on the deck to watch the sun rise. That meant close to an hour of numb hands and furiously watering eyes, but it was worth it to watch the world take on the hues of a ripe peach and then suddenly explode into vivid reds and oranges as the sun bravely rose from its bed behind the tree line. We even got an escort of seagulls for the last few miles.