animal adventures on the san juan islands


We had quite a few animal encounters on our trip to the San Juan Islands.  This post won't showcase all our animal encounters, but just my favorite six.  


One of the great things on Orcas Island are the blacktail deer.  They are all around the island and since they aren't hunted nor do they have any predators, they aren't too skittish.  Last time we were on the island, there were a bunch of deer near our hotel.  Before sunset, they were out grazing in the yard, and we got to walk right up to them.  Our second night on the island this trip, we went to that exact spot where we'd know they'd be grazing.  There were only about 5 deer, but we still got to get close, pet them, and just watch them do their thing.





Instead of staying on Orcas Island the whole trip, we headed to Lopez Island for a day of biking.  Our second stop on the island was at Spencer Spit State Park.  I found this little slug who I watched for quite a while.  He moved a lot faster than I expected and was interesting to watch.




As we continued around Lopez Island, I saw a bunch of sheep lying in the shade.  As they saw me get closer, they became a bit scared.  I took a few pictures before leaving them in peace so they could go back to napping.

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One of our last stops on Lopez before heading back to the ferry was saying hi to these goats.  Many of them, like the sheep, were a tad scared.  Number 34 or as I called him, Simon, was the exception.  I picked some grass and he came over and ate it right from my hand.  I gave him a few handfuls and when I stopped, he got angry and kicked the fence.

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My second favorite animal adventure was our last night on Orcas Island.  We headed to a beach where we had never been before to watch the sunset.  As the sun was slowly going down, Eric was fixated on two otters fishing in the distance.  I continued to keep taking pictures of the sunset, when Eric suddenly told me the otters were coming closer.  Before we knew it, there was one headed right to the pier we were on.  As he swam closer, he was chomping on a fish.  It's a bit hard to tell in this picture, but that's what he's doing.


After he ate the fish, he came even closer and jumped on the pier.  There were four other people standing near us and we all became giddy.


The otter's friend then jumped on the pier and they both headed into the boat.  We all walked closer to see what was going on and they freaked out and jumped back into the water.  We all stood still and eventually they jumped back up on the pier.  We watched for maybe 10 minutes as they cleaned each other, the larger of the two jumped back on the boat, and the little one curled up like a cat and fell asleep.

It was a great night, filled with a beautiful sunset and an otter show!

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Finally, here's my favorite animal moment of our trip.  I will post at a different time about the whale watching tour we went on.  Unfortunately we were visiting at the end of whale season so although we saw other animals, there were no orcas to be seen the day we went out.  I was bummed about not seeing an orca on our tour, but all that faded as we headed back to the mainland on Friday morning.  Eric and I were on the ferry putting together a butterfly puzzle [there are many puzzles on the ferry for people to work on].  There was some kind of announcement over the loudspeaker but I didn't understand it, so I continued on the puzzle.  Eric, however, did hear the announcement and immediately stood up.  I saw him knock over some puzzle pieces, so as I was trying to tell him that, he just looks at me and says "there's orcas!".  That's all I needed to hear to stand up and run to the windows.

Since we were in the vicinity of whales, the ferry needed to stop.  We saw two orcas from the window we were near, but noticed quite a few people on the opposite side of the ferry.  We headed over there and there were MORE whales.  Then at the back of the ferry there were a couple more!  We think there were at least 7 total, but there could have been more.

Unfortunately I only had my 35mm lens on and the whales were a little far away to get great shots, but I'm glad I still got proof of seeing whales on our ferry trip back to the mainland.

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All posts from our Washington Trip, 2013:


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