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Seattle 2010 Trip

Day 6 of 13

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Tuesday, June 29th
Mount Finlayson and Lime Kiln Point State Park

We woke up to sunny morning skies for once. Unfortunately, my allergies came with it. I started sneezing before I even got outside, perhaps a result of inhaling new pollen the afternoon before. The Zyrtec I'd been taking which had been so effective against my native Bay Area pollen was apparently no match for San Juan Island pollen.

I suffered the rest of the day, but we did manage to go to San Juan Historical National Park, where we hiked to the generously named Mount Finlayson.

After the hike, we made the short (about 20 minute) drive to Lime Kiln Point State Park. Apparently this is one of the best places to see orcas from the shore. I had read that the best time to see orcas from here is usually 3-5pm. We arrived at 3:30pm, in time to visit the small visitor's center and read a sign stating that the orcas had reached the viewing point at 2:50pm. We made the short walk down a paved trail to the viewing area. About 20 others were there, as well, when we arrived. By now, the sky was overcast but we had a clear view of the waters in front of us.

No whales in sight from Lime Kiln Point State Park

After a few minutes of nothing, we decided to walk up to the lighthouse, just a 5-10 minute walk up the coast. Waves crashed below us on the rocky shore. Two or three dozen people milled about at the lighthouse, where a sign noted that the orcas were last seen from here at 3:15pm. It was now 4pm.

The lighthouse at Lime Kiln

Closer view of the lighthouse

We returned to the parking lot, resigned to the fact that we'd been a bit too late. There's no guarantee that they'll arive between 3-5pm, but that's probably your best bet. I'd imagine if you were desperate to see them, you could arrive at 2pm and just wait, knowing that you might have to wait 3-4 hours -- and even then there would be no guarantee. Or you could go on one of the many whale watching boats. Considering my penchance for sea-sickness, that wasn't an option for us.

We returned to Golden Triangle Thai for some take-out, and returned to the house we were staying at.


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