733. Friday Harbor, San Juan County (WA06)

The courthouse was not bad as courthouses go.  Instead of tearing down the old one and rebuilding, they basically made an extension, leaving the old courthouse as one of its wings.  The brick doesn’t blend, of course, but it still makes for an attractive footprint with a very traditional entrance on one side. 

The hardest part about this county is getting to it.  As you have probably surmised, it’s on an island.  Luckily, it’s a relatively small island.  The courthouse was only about five blocks from the port, and several acceptable caches were sprinkled between the two. 

The closest cache, placed by my ferry godmother, was at the other end of the car lot. The log was signed, but before I could put it away, I was happened upon by a caching couple looking for it, too. We chatted for a few minutes, and I showed them where it had been hidden before I set off. My entire time between the cache and the courthouse took about fifteen minutes, and on any other day, I would have jumped back in the car and taken off like a shot to the next county. Unfortunately, I was restricted by the whims of the ferry. I tried to get some lunch (none of the restaurants open that early on a Sunday appealed to me) and do some touristy crap (I bought and mailed some postcards but failed to find a Washington keyring). I found a coffee shop so I could grab a chai latte (I am so basic sometimes), but it turned out they were out of chai. How does a coffee shop run out of chai? I guess by being on an island. I got back on the same ferry and began the trip back to the mainland (which is actually an island, too, but I’m calling it the mainland because I’m a hack). In that hour, I beheld a great many sights. While spending time chatting and trading trackables with another cacher, I saw …

… some professional ferry folk playing a board game in the wild …

… and a Cascadian separatist in his regalia …

… and had a very small orca sighting! OK, it wasn’t all that impressive. A bunch of people rushed to the front of the ship, so, being the lemming that I am, I followed. There were a bunch of boats trying to herd the orcas back out to sea, and I think I saw dorsal fins, which I may or may not have captured in a photo. No, I didn’t expect to catch any Free Willy–type shots, though.

Ferries just bring up interesting stuff, I guess. After an hour getting back, I finally returned to Anacortes, took the long hike back to the car, and set off to return to the ferry back in Coupeville. Remember what I said back there about ferries feeling like end bosses? Well, here it was in its most brutal form: one of the two ferries here had broken down, leaving only one. They didn’t even think that people with reservations would be able to make the last ferry, and I didn’t have a reservation because I didn’t know how long Friday Harbor would take. Another ferry further down the island was backed up because of people who couldn’t cross here. Therefore, I didn’t have to consult the maps because I knew only one option remained to me at this point: instead of a ten-mile and thirty-minute ferry across, I would have to make a 250-mile drive around Puget Sound. But all the road-tripping I have been doing for years had prepared me for this. I passed the scenic sights of Whidbey Island for a fourth time (familiarity had begun to breed contempt). I took I-5 south, returning through Mount Vernon, Everett, and Seattle, rounding the sound, and then stopping in what was supposed to be one of my stops that day anyway…

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