Vashon Island

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Nashi Orchards Perry and Cider. Yum!!

July 5

We joined Jason, Dan, and Coco on Vashon Island for July 4th.  We left the motor home in Burlington and stayed in a lodge on the Island.  We planned to do some “beach” things like sit in the sun, kayak, and paddle board.  We brought the beach umbrella for Dart and Coco to sit in the shade.  It was windy and cold, so we walked the beach in our jackets and enjoyed the views of Mount Ranier.  Dan found us something else to do for the afternoon.

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It may have been too cold to do beach things, but at least we got a great view of Mount Ranier.
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The shorelines around here have LOTS of driftwood. 
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Hmmm. Looks like someone didn’t read the sign.
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While we were enjoying the view, we saw this Osprey plunge into the water and catch this fish. It was windy, so this Osprey was having a lot of difficulty bringing this fish back. Also, the Osprey was only using one talon the whole time it was transporting the fish.

Dan hit the jackpot for us and found a place to do a cider tasting.  We went to Nashi Orchards which accommodated the six of us (4 adults and 2 dogs) for a cider tasting and tour of the orchard.  Nashi is a word for pear.

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Fuzzy pear growing in the Nashi Orchard waiting for it’s chance to be transformed into a Perry.

It was amazing.  I had no idea that cider could taste that good.  Some of the ciders have pears.  The orchards use a lot of their own fruit but will sometimes add fruits from other local farms.  The ciders were more like a fine wine.  After getting a taste of about six different ciders, all good, we toured the orchard.  The gardens were beautiful and we got to see the fruits beginning to grow on the trees.  We met the sheep that do a lot of the maintenance around the trees.  It was so beautiful, I was ready to move in.   The owners were very enthusiastic about what they do and were happy to share lots of information with us.  (I obviously didn’t absorb it all so I have to go back for another tour.) It was a great experience and we all felt that maybe we lucked out that we didn’t want to kayak in the cold.  It just goes to show there is always something interesting to do.  We, of course, purchased some cider to take with us.

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Apples growing in the Nashi Orchard.
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Sheep that helps keep the orchard “trimmed”.

We ate a a farm to table restaurant called the Bramble House. They offered cider from Nashi Orchards and well as other local options.  The dinner was amazing and the deserts were even better.  It’s probably a good thing I don’t live next to this restaurant.

We went to the area where the official fireworks were being set off for the Island.  We took the dogs so that we didn’t leave them in strange lodgings with all the booms.  It was crazy.  We were warned it would be crazy and it was.  There were so many “unofficial” fireworks going off that we weren’t sure we would know when the official ones started.  Good fireworks like that are not cheap, so I was amazed at how many people were shooting off big fireworks.

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Waiting to watch fireworks while the neighbors were setting off their own fireworks. Crazy!!

Coco was okay as long as they weren’t going off over her head.  When we were in the thick of things, the fireworks were going off around us, so we had to back off to give the Coco some space.  Dart wasn’t happy from the start and Regis took him around the neighborhood.  That gave Regis an opportunity to see just how many fireworks were going off all around Puget Sound.  And, most of those were probably not “official”.

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“Unofficial” fireworks.

We were able to tell when the official fireworks started.  They were a little bigger and better.  As soon as they started, all the “unofficial” fireworks stopped.  As soon as the last official firework finished, all the “unofficial” fireworks started up again.  We could hear them long into the night, much to Dart’s dismay.  I’ve never seen 4th of July fireworks on the West Coast before and it is the wild, wild west out here.

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Official fireworks.
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Official fireworks.

Under the Salish Sea

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Sea anemone at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.

June 19

The weather warmed up quite a bit yesterday.  I woke up yesterday morning at 4:30 to watch the sunrise.  Dart joined me.  The water was calm and the sky was clear.  I saw a sea lion swim by and a few seals.

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Sunrise over Puget Sound June 18.
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Sunrise over Puget Sound June 18.

Later, we rode our bikes a couple miles to visit the Port Townsend Marine Science Center to get a look at the animals you can find under the Salish Sea.  They had microscopes set up so you could view the life in the drops of water taken from the Puget Sound.  I could have spent hours watching the zooplankton swimming around.

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Sea anemone at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.
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Sea life at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center.

We almost died riding our bikes.  We had to ride up a long hill to get to the Center and I couldn’t do it.  I was very proud to get up the first part of the hill.  When I rounded the corner and saw that I was no where near done, I gave up and walked.  It was exhausting.   There is a big difference riding in flat Florida compared to riding these steep hills.

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Ferry crossing Puget Sound on June 17.

Last night we got quite a thrill.  There were over a dozen river otters moving through the water together.  They may have been feeding.  They were lots of fun to watch.  They hung out together in a tight group.  I am happy to have a good pair of binoculars that work well in low light conditions.  We could hear the otters making noises.  Sometimes they would all pop up their heads at the same time, chitter to each other, then go under the water at the same time.  We watched them for at least 20 minutes before they got too far away.

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Dart and Coco. Dart is a Shetland Sheepdog and Coco is a Bedlington Terrier.

I tried some sunrise pictures this morning and the sky was not as clear.  There is some cloud cover coming in.  The sunrise lacked some of the warm colors I saw yesterday.  (The best colors are always before the sun rises.  The best sunset colors show up after the sun sets.)

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Sunrise over Puget Sound June 19.
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I believe this is an immature White-Crowned sparrow.