Orcas is a small island off the Puget Sound. To get there, we had to drive to Anacortes and take a ferry. There are quite a few ferries that run out of Anacortes, not all of which go to Orcas. We were aiming for a 10:15 AM ferry there and a 7 PM ferry back. In each case, since the next Orcas ferry was several hours after that, we had to make sure we were there early enough to ensure that there was room for our car.
With that in mind, we headed out at 8:30 for the 40 minute drive to the ferry terminal. We had some problems with the Hertz Never Lost, as it didn't appear to have an entry in its database for the ferry terminal. We finally found a ferry terminal and pointed ourselves in that direction. Once we hit town, it became obvious we were headed for a different terminal, and we were able to follow signs to our destination.
Orcas Island is small and largely uninhabited. There are a couple of small towns - East Sound, Orcas, and Olga among them - and one main road that winds a horseshoe path around the bay that juts into the land. We had some directions from Jenny, the kind that go by landmarks because there's nothing else to go by, and we followed the main road because there's nowhere else to go. The Never Lost didn't even list Olga, the nearest town, and cellphone service was spotty at best, but after one or two wrong turns we arrived.
Jenny, her sister and sister-in-law and their combined 6 kids and two dogs were staying in their great-grandfather's Victorian farm house, which was built in the 1880s. It has no electricity or running water - they pumped water from a well, and used either the wood-burning stove or a camp stove to cook. It was a great place for the kids, as there was a ton of open and wooded space to explore. After getting the grand tour of the house, I was shown around the grounds by five-year-old Marina and six-year-old McLean. Other than ten-month-old Peter, McLean was the only boy there, so I pretty quickly became his best buddy. He showed me his Star Wars handheld video game, and we talked about Spider-Man and exploding robots (you had to be there).
We packed a lunch and hiked a well-worn path through some woods to a small patch of rocky shore, where the kids hunted for crabs and threw sticks into the water for the dogs to fetch (the dogs never once got tired of this, and barked if we weren't holding up our end of the game sufficiently). We ate sandwiches and cookies, threw the leftovers to the dogs, collected "beach glass" (pieces of broken glass that had smoothed out after awhile of being beaten on by the tide), and the adults encouraged the kids and dogs to wear themselves out.
After making our way back to the house, this time with most people piled into Jenny's sister's VW Vanagon, we said our goodbyes and drove back towards the ferry, stopping in East Sound for a little shopping (Tiffany has been using opportunities like that to restock the gift closet) and a bite to eat. We had plenty of time to catch the ferry home.
Tomorrow we head off to Vancouver for the wedding. We'll be there until Sunday, when we come back for Vanessa's third birthday party.Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 20, 2002 to See, I do have a life!