A three-hour tour from Seattle’s Pier 69, snaking through the Washington islands, docking in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island provided idyllic scenery of evergreen shoreline, hyperactive porpoises, stoic bald eagles, and snow-capped mountains the entire journey. Pre-baby, I would have been bundled up in a puffer coat and gloves perched on the outside upper deck taking in the view. But now with a teething eight month old, my seat of choice was the first floor, middle section of the ship. Sardine style. Tucked in. I would have loved a window seat, but our timing first thing in the morning just barely got us to the dock before the fog horn blew for departure.
The Victoria Clipper high-speed catamaran was scheduled to leave Pier 69 at 7:45am. Crazy. Even though this was only a year ago, we scheduled for a cab and not an Uber or a Lift from the Westin Downtown at 7am and arrived to the pier by 7:15. This was Claire’s first cab ride. She wasn’t so sure about the whole thing. Maybe she would have gone for the complementary water bottle from an Uber?
We didn’t bring the car seat base, so we bucked her in weaving the seatbelt through the car seat clipping her in. Not sure if this is a legal way to travel with a baby in a car, but traveling a couple of miles in a taxi prior to Seattle morning rush hour wasn’t stressful. I really don’t think you can be a big germaphobe traveling with a baby. Of course Claire wanted to touch the cab’s seatbelt and door paneling. That’s what baby wipes are for! We’ve definitely gone through plenty of Pampers wipes on this journey!
The Victoria Clipper departed promptly at 7:45am.
The boat was sold out so Claire sat on my lap. By 8am-ish, Claire fell asleep. By 8:15-ish I dosed off as well. I woke up two hours later. Yes! I actually got a nap in! I’ve never been a napper, so this was a treat! Only an hour to go on this three-hour cruise.
I woke up just in time to peer over other passengers’ heads to catch a glimpse of Deception Pass Bridge.
This simple structure bridge was built in 1935 (only took one year to complete). The combination of islands blanketed with pine trees and water green as Rolling Rock sea glass made cruising under the bridge feel like we were traveling through a Lord of the Ring’s Milford Sound in New Zealand.
The hum of the boat kept Claire sound asleep, but without having to move much, I was able to see a golf ball size head of a bald eagle perched high in the tree line. A blue heron who refused to camouflage, sat watching us from his driftwood perch on the shoreline. All other passengers saw harbor seals, and dolphins swimming by the boat. I would have jumped up for an Orca sighting, but this morning’s boat ride was meant to catch up on sleep.
At 11:05am we pulled into sunny Friday Harbor. This island feels like we are nestled inside a labyrinth, tucked in behind the city of Seattle and many islands in between. A relaxing two days of cast away island life sounds perfect.
We stayed at the Earthbox Inn and Spa, an old 70’s converted motor lodge, that looked pretty hip post renovations. The hotel had an on-site spa, complimentary bicycles (next time), and it was walking distance from the marina.
The only rain during our entire trip happened in Friday Harbor. It wasn’t a heavy rain, just overcast and misting. Here is what we did on the San Juan Islands with an eight month old:
Amazing used book store….
Ate a couple of these…
Went Orca whale watching in the mist and saw a pod of at least 30-40 orcas…..
We took Claire on one of these…
Just kidding. One of these was more her speed…
Took Claire to her first concert at a local restaurant…
Photographed the foliage…
And did a lot of this….