Ferry Riding in the Pacific Northwest

I am waiting in line for the ferry. At least twice a week I can make this statement. This is what happens when one lives in the Northwest and wants to connect to the mainland or to other islands.

Maybe after living here long enough the ferry rides are no event but currently, well I just love the ferries. I like short rides. I like long rides. I love being in the front and once I was in the very back. I was the last vehicle on board.

Ferries are extensions of roads. When the schedule gets off, it affects a lot of people. Once I was on Vancouver Island in Canada and my ferry was canceled. I had to find a different route to get off the Island and get on another ferry to go to another island. It was messy but it worked. I understand after that event, ferries are essential for those who live on the many islands in Washington state and British Columbia.

Why am I waiting for a ferry? Where am I? Where am I going? Twice a week I travel from Whidbey Island to the mainland to see a sports medicine chiropractor. I have issues with my left Achilles and with his help, my heel is slowly improving.

One day my friends, Melissa and Will, and I took the ferry as walk-on’s to Port Townsend for the afternoon. We wandered, had lunch, and then returned late in the day. All that for $4.30. It felt like I was on a mini-vacation.

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

A week ago I took the ferry on my longest ride yet. I went to San Juan Island for a week to visit Pat, a friend, and a fellow photographer. Pat has lived on this island for many years and I feel fortunate to have such a knowledgeable friend and guide. We talked and had fun and took pictures.

We traveled a lot on the island. We hiked to interesting and unusual places. One day we saw Orcas. Every late afternoon we would drive to this gravel road and wait for the foxes to come out. Yes, foxes. There are red foxes on this island and if one is fortunate you will get a chance to see them as they hunt in the fields and ditches. The first night we saw several, I really can’t remember what the count was.

After that first night, we decided to take our dinner and sit in the rig, on the dirt road and wait. There were never as many foxes as that first night. It didn’t seem to matter we were happy with what we saw.

This is the fun of being with another photographer. We share a common interest. Both of us got excited when we saw any moving thing. It didn’t matter how long we sat there and waited. When the next late afternoon would arrive we would look at each other and say “Foxes!”. And off we would go.

Mulkiteo Lighthouse

Now I am back on Whidbey Island and enjoying my short ferry rides to the mainland and back. I find the ferry rides add a bit of adventure and excitement to my day. I have to time my departure from the island to make it on time for my appointment. If I arrive on the mainland side early, I spend time exploring the port town of Mulkiteo. There is a beautiful lighthouse on the “Sound”

My time on Whidbey Island is winding down. I will be heading south at the end of October. I will miss my ferry rides. These are moments to relax, contemplate or read a book. I have learned patience and discovered a bit of joy in the wait.

Today I am grateful to have discovered island living and the fun of riding the ferries.

A view from the stern of the Ferry

10 thoughts on “Ferry Riding in the Pacific Northwest

  1. Your writing style places me right there in the moment with you. I look forward to each of your articles; thank you for sharing. Enjoy your trip south and continued healing on the achilles.

  2. First night 7 sightings of foxes and after 22yrs living here can’t say that had ever occured..they came out just for us on that little gravel road without tourists except Janet….so much fun !!!!

  3. We were on San Juan Island Sept 15-18. We drove into the parking area for South Beach and two foxes appeared and started heading for our Roadtrek. It appears that people are disregarding the signs and feeding them there. But they are quite cute! Enjoyed our first ferry ride in the Roadtrek and first visit to any of the islands. Having friends who just moved to La Conner, I know this won’t be our last visit either. Have you had the opportunity to check out Cape Disappointment State Park? We stopped there for a couple of nights on our way up from the SF Bay Area. Stunning beach and two lighthouses. Well worth the trip.

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