surprises on orcas island

I’ve traveled to the San Juan Islands on several occasions. Some trips have been good, some have been great; however, I recently returned from a trip that topped them all. There was an element of surprise on this trip to Orcas Island, and the result was a fantastic family getaway weekend. 

From bees to bears — No one likes a bee sting. Upon our arrival in Eastsound, a bee landed on my son’s hand. He shrieked. I jumped. Brown Bear Baking was around the corner. The barista provided some baking soda, water, and ice to sooth the wound; Dad provided a sweet treat to sooth the soul. 

Tide pools by boat — The good springtime weather meant my brother was able to sail north to the island with my father. We, on the other hand, traveled by car. We convened in Rosario. Uncle took the kids out on the Zodiac to explore the tide pools. They returned with excited eyes and fish stories. 

Shakespeare festival — The Orcas Island Shakespeare festival was a welcomed addition. Rain clouds broke just a moment before several dozen Shakespearean actors and supporters marched through town. Makeshift bake sales sprouted up in the street, a petting zoo attracted kids and adults, and a juggler captivated the crowd.  

Family friends — Randomly, one of my son’s good buddies was also on the island with his family. A play date ensued. Suddenly, hikes through the woods weren’t so bad anymore. Both my kids, and the extra one in tow, engaged with their surroundings in a new way. With renewed skip in their step, the entire island became a playground for dragon seeking, pinecone racing, and fort building. 

Orca sighting — All good things must come to an end, including our weekend on Orcas Island. Lucky for us, the ferry ride back to the mainland provided the grand finale. To the north of our vessel was an orca pod. The captain announced the spectacle. The whales came to the surface, then hundreds of passengers simultaneously gasped and applauded.



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