Thursday, September 12, at around 7:20 a.m., twenty Mature Friends
boarded the Amtrak train at the newly renovated King Street Train Depot
After a pleasant morning ride up to Bellingham and a little bit of
a mix-up, our crew showed up to escort us to our exclusive 60-foot
charter boat the Viking Star
Only a short walk from the train depot, we hoofed it and clamored
aboard while the crew wrestled with our luggage. Some of us
brought a steamer trunk for the three-day cruise, expecting
perhaps a cotillion ball.
Awaiting us on board, crew member and naturalist Victoria bought
out pots of coffee to our tables, a much appreciated opening
gesture. Our crew consisted of Captain Dale, naturalist Victoria,
and crewman Torque.
Welcomes Us Aboard!
After setting sail, we cruised southwest into
the San Juan archipelago. The morning fog grew thicker farther
out on the Salish Sea. To get to where we were going, Captain
Dale had to cut through a fog bank. Lucky for us, the modern
technology of radar and loud blasts of the boat's fog horn
cleared the way. Seeing too far ahead became impossible as the
fog obstructed visibility. Once through the thick of the fog
bank, we saw some stunning sights as patches of remaining fog crept over islands
like something out of the movie The Ten Commandments.
The effect was beautiful and spooky.
As the morning approached noon, the fog lifted
for the most part. By then we'd had our fill of coffee and got
ready to move around the boat, even heading outside on deck into
the fresh air and sea breezes. Some of us couldn't resist
tempting fate by playing King
of the World. Luckily, this ship didnít sink.
After sailing through a thick fog bank, we slowed down as we
passed a small island
populated by two different species of king fishers and a lot of
seagulls. Next we sailed past a tree-encrusted island upon which
some guy wanted to build a house. He built the pier you see in the
picture of his island
that's as far as he got. Why? An eagle's nest on the island
prevented any further building because the island was too small
for a house to sit far enough away to satisfy distance
requirements. So the island remains uninhabited by human beings.
From there, we cruised around various islands including the
Burrows Island lighthouse, as well as other points of interest
such as Iceberg Point, Deadman's Island, and Cattle Pass. By noon,
the crew had set out a sumptuous lunch for us, which included a
free glass of wine for everyone. All during the voyage, the
captain would periodically tell us tidbits of the islands' history
and geology. One island we passed was bare on one side and
forested on the other. The reason is that a glacier had plowed up
the fertile soil on one side and pushed it onto the other side
10,000 plus years ago.
Before the end of the first day, I found Bob McQ on deck with Victoria
, one of
the crew members, both taking in the fresh air and warm afternoon