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This was a paid post.  The paid links were removed on 10.12.09

Full Day, No Pics

I left home without my camera.

Yesterday, all by my lone-self, I drove my car onto the ferry and rode to Anacortes. From there I drove to Seattle, had no small adventure in tears and frustration finding an address on the waterfront, then turned my car over to the shippers. It is on it’s way to Hawaii.

From the shipping office, I rode in a taxi to Kenmore Air on Lake Union in Seattle. I was an hour early for my flight, so I grabbed my novel — packed for just such an instance — and went down the street to Starbucks, were I sipped a latte, exhanged quips with a fellow coffee aficionado, then settled at an umbrella table on the patio to read my novel.

About 40 minutes before flight time I ambled back to Kenmore Air. I had no sooner settled on their waterfront veranda to continue reading, then my cell phone rang. It was my niece, Brooke. We chatted for a bit. After hanging up the phone I headed again for my book — and my flight was called.

I had been looking forward to this trip all day. I was to travel in a DeHavilland 8-seater, propeller driven float plane. I have wanted to fly in a float plane since I was a kid watching them land on, and take off from, Lake Coeur d’Alene.

I was the first one on the plane and I was strapped in a ready to go before the last passenger was seated — and there were only 5 of us. Take off was smooth and uneventful. The sky was blue and clear. Visibility was great and I stared down at tiny houses and villages as we sailed out to — and then over the ocean. We were close enough to the ocean that I could see the bottom from time to time. I was disappointed by the lack of marine life — no whales were spotted on this trip.

However, even without whales, it was a wonderful flight. The pilot put the plane down in Deer Harbor just as smooth as could be, and after dropping off a passenger, took it up again just as smoothly. I was wondering, as we lifted off, how much farther it was to Friday Harbor. I was hoping the flight would never end, but no sooner did the thought formulate then we cleared the top of the island in front of us and I saw Friday Harbor spread out before me. Deer Harbor is pretty much “next door.”

We coasted in to the dock and hopped off the plane. I said good-bye to my fellow passengers and started walking. They had luggage to retrieve. I had only my purse. Immediately I called OC to tell him I was home (on the island) and safe. He told me to wait there and he’d come get me in the row boat — but he was still in the lab and it was about an hour before his usual quitting time. I told him I’d walk home.

The walk took about 40 minutes. It wouldn’t have except one of the passengers from the plane hollered for me to wait for her. I had already climbed the stairs to the top of the cliff and she was still at the bottom. Her bag also slowed her down a bit. When she reached me she asked for directions to her Bed & Breakfast. I realized we’d be walking the same way, so we strolled together and chatted about the island.

When I reached home I joined OC in the lab — mostly melting into a chair and trying not to die of thirst while he finished up — then we covered the last several yards to our apartment and OC made me a lovely, yummy dinner of cashew chicken. After dinner we went to the point and OC played his trumpet until dark, then we climbed the hill to the apartment. Shortly thereafter I crawled into bed and slept like a rock.

Together At Last

Seatac Airport, 9:40 p.m., July 1st:  my cell phone rang.  It was OC telling me that Hawaiian Airlines flight 22 was safely on the ground and he would be allowed to deplane soon.  (I suspect that he had really called to see if I’d arrived at the airport to pick him up. I had.)  Twenty minutes later my cell phone rang again.  It was OC telling he there was some delay at security, but he was on his way.  (I suspect he was checking to see if I hadn’t changed my mind and bolted. I hadn’t.)

Finally OC came into view.  He was looking right and left, searching for me.  I waited, wondering when he would look straight ahead – and finally he saw me.  I smiled.  He waved.  He kissed me, hugged me, kissed me again (fleeting pecks) and left me in charge of his carry-on while he stepped up to the carousel for his luggage.  I briefly wished for a warmer reception, but OC kept looking back over his shoulder at me.  I chose to interpret that as happy-to-see-me behavior rather then, has-she-let-anybody-walk-off-with-my-precious-trumpets-yet? behavior.

Leaving the airport, we went to get fuel — for the car and for us.  We successfully fueled the car, but didn’t do quite so well fueling our tummies.  We ate at a Denny’s.  Now, I’ve had many good meals at Denny’s Restaurants, but this wasn’t one.  After Denny’s we retired to Studio 6, checked our email and fell into bed — where we each pretended to sleep so our upset stomach and general discomfort wouldn’t bother the other.

July 2nd:  neither of us felt like starting the day with food.  Instead, we went to Big Five Sporting Goods Store and each bought a pair of new shoes.  After getting shoes we traveled to the charming city of Anacortes, Washington and ate a lovely lunch in a little cafe named Calico Cupboard.  We also walked up and down the street holding hands and looking in shop windows.  We wanted to catch the 3:10 ferry to Friday Harbor, so we had to drive down to the Ferry Terminal and get in line.

Once in line, we had plenty of time to explore, so OC took me down to the beach. He behaved with wonderful patience the whole time over my unsuitable beach shoes — flip flops — and patiently helped me over the rocks and driftwood.  He also steered me clear of the more muddy and marshy areas.  However, he is a scientist and he likes to study squishy things, so he happily plucked seaweeds from the ground and put them in my hands.  He seemed quite pleased when I had no trouble telling the different kinds apart.  Even so, I hope there is no test later because I will not remember their names.  He also found a rock with some barnacles and a kelp “holdfast” attached and explained to me how kelp anchors itself to the ocean floor.

Once aboard the ferry, we walked around a bit.  OC showed me a map display of the islands and explained what route we would take. We stood on deck for awhile and watched the shore passby – then we sat down and fell soundly asleep, waking only when the announcement came for drivers to return to their cars and prepare to exit the ferry.  I got barely a glimpse of downtown Friday Harbor as we exited the Ferry.  We were rushing to the grocery store before closing time.  The store was packed and crazy so we just grabbed the fixings for a quick meal, plus toast and juice for breakfast.

Friday Harbor Labs, Apartment A103.  Ours is the ground floor unit, you can see the door between the trees.

Same door, different view from the hillside.

View through the living room windows. 

View through the open bedroom window.

The path from the parkinglot to our apartment.

Same view, (picture magnified so you can see the car). 

I love these trees.  OC says they are called Madrone.  He also says they shed their bark on a regular basis, probably to rid themselves of parasites.  I say they are gorgeous.  This one is just off the patio on the uphill slope.

July 3rd:  the day started at OC’s favorite walking trail.  He said it was 8-tenths of a mile long, then he took off at a sprint and left me to walk.  I am not used to the humidity and was soon out of breath.  I kept walking — briskly, but nowhere near OC’s speed.  I walked.  And walked.  And walked.  The countryside is gorgeous.  I enjoyed the wildlife — even saw some deer.  And I walked and walked.  I couldn’t believe how hard it was, or how out of shape I was.  That was the longest 8-tenth of a mile I had ever walked. When I met OC on his return trip, he said the end was still five minutes away.  Five minutes at his pace was going to be way too flipping long at mine.  I turned around.  Later OC said he may have miscalculated the length.

After our walk, showers, and breakfast, OC took me to the main building and introduced me to some of his coworkers.  We needed to visit the tech guy and get cleared for internet access.  OC and the Apple loving techies made fun of my PC.  There was another guy in the room with a PC laptop.  I said, “Why are you giving me such a hard time?  That guy has a PC, too!”  That Guy waved his hands and exclaimed in horror, “No way.  This isn’t mine.  I’m just working on it!”

Despite the tech guys best efforts, I only get reliable internet connectivity when sitting on our patio.  That evening as I went in to use the bathroom I said to OC, “I guess it’s safe to leave my PC outside unguarded.  It isn’t like anyone here would steal it.”  OC agreed a bit too enthusiastically.

July 4th: I woke sore from the trail, yet consented to trek it again.  OC admitted that it is about a mile and a half long.  I made it a bit further, but still haven’t reached the end.  My muscles were a bit sore when I started out, but I didn’t think it was any big deal.  However, they didn’t loosen up as I walked.  In fact, my calves kept cramping.  I walked it anyway and I kept a good pace.  After showers and breakfast OC and I went to the staff/student volley ball game.  I managed to skin my knee, and I missed a few shots, but I made a couple, too.  I played three games and sat the rest out in favor of some younger folk.  OC played 6 or 7 games.  Here he is celebrating a good serve.

In the afternoon most of the folk from Friday Harbor Labs — ourselves included — went to 4th of July Beach for a barbecue.  OC is a master at skipping rocks.  Ask him to prove it some time.  He says it is all in the wrist.  We walked up and down the beach — once again with OC being perfectly patient about my flip-flops as he helped me over, through and around obstacles. 

Driftwood cemetary — 4th of July Beach.

And that evening we walked to a grassy rise just a few yards from our apartment and settled in anticipation of a fireworks show.  As we waited OC played his trumpet, and night settled in around us.  The show was spectacular, and from two different points on the horizon we could see other displays — one from Cortes Island, and another from the mainland.  It was a magical display of ohhhs and ahhhs — and that’s pretty much what this whole trip has been so far. 

The last ferry of the evening leaves Friday Harbor.