A whale of a day

Trip Start Jun 12, 2005
Trip End Aug 2005

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Tuesday, August 2 -

Today was a whale of a day! We headed down to the Bellingham harbor where we arrived at 8:15am, checked in at the boat terminal and picked up our tickets. We had about 15 minutes to spare so found a little gift shop where we heard the story on plank cooking and even bought a plank cookbook. It will be fun to try it out with some of the fish we sent home.

We boarded our cruiser and departed for Victoria, BC promptly at 9am as scheduled. We had a pleasant three hour trip through the islands to our destination. It might have been a bit boring except for the fact that a couple who were about our age were in the boarding line ahead of us and we exchanged pleasantries. When we got on board we decided to sit together and soon we were visiting about many things, but mostly about our respective Alaska adventures as they had been to most of the same places. They were going to take the Gray Line Tour to Bouchart Gardens and we were taking the Gray Line Tour of Victoria so as we got off the boat at noon we agreed to sit together on the return trip and parted. We had a good lunch at the Empress Hotel, a hotel built in 1904 by the Canadian Pacific Railroad, similar to the ones we visited five years ago in the Canadian Rockies with Leo and Katie Ryan. This hotel was nice but by comparison to the others it was not even in the race. After lunch we took our bus tour of Victoria and it was very interesting. Would you believe that Victoria did not have any days last winter when the temperature dropped below freezing! Following the tour we walked through a few shops and went to a patio café by our boat dock and had a cold beer on a nice patio where we could enjoy our pastime of people watching.

At 4pm we proceed through US Customs and boarded our boat for the return to Bellingham. We were all on board so we left at 4:30 a half hour ahead of schedule so, as the Captain explained, we would have plenty of time for whale watching! He told us that he had a report that there were three pods of orcas in a single area on our return path. An estimated 90 whales! About and hour and a quarter later the boat slowed and the captain said that the whales were a few hundred yards ahead off the port side of the boat. Soon we spotted one and then another and another. By this time the boat was dead in the water and we watched orcas in all directions, a few very close to the boat. What an experience! I got several fairly good pictures before I put the camera down and just watched the fun.

After about 45 minutes we had to get moving again so we would not be too far behind schedule. We had a fair dinner and a much more interesting return trip as we were closer to the many islands we passed. It was very picturesque, the weather was beautiful, the mountains were outstanding, and the company was enjoyable. We arrived back in Bellingham about 15 minutes late and after saying our goodbyes we headed for our trailer. Tomorrow we are back on the road, heading east toward Yellowstone. I have not figured out when we will arrive but it will likely be Saturday.
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