14 August, 2009

San Juans: The journey home

The ferry ride home began like any other ferry ride. Sit in line for an hour, hope you get on the sailing you came for. We did, and sailed away from Orcas around 12:30pm.

The fun began on Lopez, our stop prior to reaching the mainland at Anacortes.

I was riding on the leading end of the boat, hanging out to take photos during the docking. I took some photos that will be a great reminder to me of the skills the WSF staff have for squeezing 2 18-wheelers side-by-side in the center isle of the ferry with only about 2' to spare on the stern of the vessel. At their closest, the trucks were only a few inches apart from eachother as well as a few inches from the walls of the ferry. The parking job took plenty of jockeying around and was met with applause from the onlookers when completed. Truly impressive. The truckers seemed surprised as well.

While we were watching the super-truck-jockeying, some people amused themselves participating in a game I had not seen before: toss a coin into the target painted on the dock. There are thousands of coins on this platform and it is somewhat entertaining watching kids try to hit the target. I tried to keep the wildlife implications of all those coins going into the water out of my mind.

As I watched the kids (and parents) tossing coins, I heard one young teenager (perhaps 14?) making a ruckus about not having any coins to toss. His parents were unsympathetic, as was I, to be honest. However, I would not have imagined his solution. At his age, I definitely would not have come to the same conclusion. What did he decide?

Look in the lower right corner. Can't make it out? That's alright - I couldn't believe my eyes -- luckily for us both I had a zoom lens. Yep... its not a coin... its...

Yes... a dollar bill. In the shape of a paper airplane. What he didn't account for is that airplanes have wings, which experience lift based on wind. Sadly, his efforts were a "wash".

Once the coins and bills were tossed, and the trucks were loaded, it was time to motor back to Anacortes. The voyage was largely unremarkable except for 2 noteworthy discoveries. First, I saw my dream home. Check it out, its even blue!

Second, I discovered that the cormorants are nesting in the pilings at the ferry dock. The only place you can really see this is from the ferry car decks. The passenger decks are too high and the nests don't face the docks. Of course, I couldn't help snapping a few shots of adults and their nearly fledged chicks.

The 2 gray fluffs hiding in the shadows are chicks.

Someday maybe I'll fledge too.

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