San Juan Island in December

We were in desperate need to get away, to glimpse that change of pace from the everyday.  We planned the destination a few months back and it was finally feeling real as we loaded up the car, loaded Stan the dog and headed north.  The weather was pretty terrible…gloomy, dark heavy overcast, rain so torrential it required slow driving at times.  But we had smiles on our faces and it was all just fine…classic Northwest weather didn’t bother us.  It often does, but not today!

We got to the ferry line in Anacortes that would sail us away to our destination of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.  This always involves waiting from an hour to several hours.  We had about two hours to wait.  Great way to make conversation, eat some snacks, walk around…right…but there was that rain coming down.

We still got out, all three of us with jackets, Heather and I with umbrellas.  As we walked around we got to chatting with a fellow traveler, Ed from Wenatchee, who was making the journey along with his dog.  The conversation was fantastic, and he shared a cigar with us, which made things even more interesting.

Washington State Ferry as seen from a cove on San Juan Island | Washington
Washington State Ferry as seen from a cove on San Juan Island | Washington

After we all loaded up on the ferry, we met up with Ed and his dog once again and he shared a certain warming drink, if you know what I mean, with us.  We had some good laughs.  If nothing else, it was a rather interesting way to spend time.  Turned out he was also staying in the same lodging as us.  Our paths didn’t cross again, however, and we were later bummed.  Safe travels, Ed.

Grandma's Cove Boulder, San Juan Island | Washington
Grandma’s Cove Boulder, San Juan Island | Washington

Besides the first travel day, we were actually blessed with amazing weather.  Cold, but mostly rain-free.  We even witnessed a couple amazing sunsets, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and that made our journey truly memorable.

Sunset at Grandma's Cove, San Juan Island | Washington
Sunset at Grandma’s Cove, San Juan Island | Washington

We are not strangers to San Juan Island, having visited in prior years and all seasons, even at a similar time many years back.  There is something stunning about these islands; undeniably very Northwest, quiet, quaint, relaxing, memorable.  Just a short distance from the noise of the cities, yet so peaceful out here.  We could almost find ourselves wanting to live here if certain events would take place.  At any rate, it is always with sadness that we leave.

Driftwood with pebbles in a lonely cove
Driftwood with pebbles in a lonely cove

Staying in a nice little cottage we had an almost full kitchen that allowed us to cook up some fantastic dinners each evening, talk about the day, laugh and relax.  Stan would cozy up on his bed, covered in blankets, and take his much needed naps following the frolics of the day.  He would occasionally bust open an eyeball to make sure he wasn’t missing out on a morsel of some deliciousness….

Cattle Point Lighthouse with coastal grasses, San Juan Island | Washington
Cattle Point Lighthouse with coastal grasses, San Juan Island | Washington

Each trip we revisit some of our favorite spots but also always find places unturned.  That’s always part of the fun, and of course each season brings something different.  One day we found a quiet, off the beaten path cove we have never been to – or actually two coves separated by a little peninsula – that we had mostly to ourselves.  There was some drizzle followed by quiet.  The waves were so gentle they simply enhanced the overall quietness.  What an awesome place though, pebbles, driftwood, views of other nearby islands, lone boats sailing by.  We even met a charming lady in her sunset years who enjoys tracking orcas and who shared some great stories.

Lone boat in the drizzle
Lone boat in the drizzle

Partly due to the season and partly because I’ve always been attracted to black and white photography, this trip allowed my eyes to feast on my surroundings mostly stripped of color.  It was refreshing to shake things up.

Sunstar at Lime Kiln Point
Sunstar at Lime Kiln Point

On our last day on the island we were blessed with clearing skies, December warmth along with a little wind for good measure.  No better place than Lime Kiln Point to enjoy the expanseful waters, dancing clouds, distant Olympic Mountains of the Olympic Peninsula – now there is a place we haven’t been to in quite some time.  What a place!

As we needed to head back to the other side of the island to Friday Harbor to line up in the ferry line, the clouds in the heavens caught ablaze with sunset’s light…

Last light in the sky as seen through a winter tree, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island | Washington
Last light in the sky as seen through a winter tree, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island | Washington

We will look forward to returning in not too long hopefully.  There is much to love on this island and our beautiful Washington.

5 thoughts on “San Juan Island in December

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