Downtown Dog

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Barn swallows.

June 27

Dart seems to be becoming a city dog.  When Regis has allowed Dart to decide where to go on their walks, Dart heads straight downtown.  I would never have guessed he would choose downtown.

Yesterday, when I was taking Dart for our morning walk, Orcas swam by the campground.  I had our best lens with me while walking Dart since I’m always looking to see what to capture.  Regis was at the campground.  Fortunately, Regis is a really great guy and took off in the car  to find us, but not before he ripped off a bunch of pictures.  We immediately headed closer to Wilson Point, since the Orcas were headed for the Straight of Juan de Fuca.  I got to see them and I think they were the same Orcas I saw from the whale boat because there was a baby in the group. While they were swimming in front of the campground, they were going through the area we’ve been kayaking.

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Orcas swimming by Port Townsend.

I broke down, took some money out of my IRA, and bought two new lenses.  The new lenses arrived a few hours after the Orcas left.  I’ve only tried the new Canon 70-200/2.8L IS II USM so far.  I am in love with this lens.  This is my new favorite lens.  Regis talked me into spending the extra money for the 2.8 and I’m glad I did.

The trouble with my old lens started with the purchase of my new 100-400 lens before this trip.  Most of my pictures have been blurry, so I thought the problem was me.  I noticed the pictures with the 100-400 lens are crisp and clear.  So, Regis and I started experimenting with the old lens (18-200) and saw that the pictures are blurry at most settings.  At the right focal length and lens opening, you can obtain an ok picture.  But, all other lengths and settings are blurry.  This is the same lens that broke twice and was fixed.  In my research on new lenses, I noted that this 18-200 lens is considered a travel lens and not particularly sharp.  Couple that with two breakages and this lens could not stand up to the quality of my new lens.  It took me weeks to figure out what lenses to get because I wanted to cover the focal lengths between 18-100 because that is the gap between my two other lenses.  I wound up getting a 24-70 lens and a 70-200 lens.  Now my range of lenses are 10-18, 24-70, 70-200, 100-400, and a 1.4 extender.

I have been trying to take some pictures of baby swallows but there has not been enough light since the nest is under a roof.  I was going to get Regis to shine a light source on the nest so I could take a picture, but never got around to it.  I used my new fast lens to take a picture and it worked.  When I first saw the birds last week, there were four nestlings.  Now, there are only two.

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Baby barn swallows.
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Barn swallows.

 

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Barn swallows.

I also have some extension tubes, but was not happy with the blurriness of the pictures.  The only lens I could use the tubes on was my older 18-200 lens.  That’s the blurry lens.  I put the extension tubes on the new lens and what a difference.  This is going to be fun.

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Flower in Port Townsend.

Lawn Ornaments – Deer

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Fawns in Port Townsend.

June 25

When Dart and I go on our morning walks through Port Townsend, we see LOTS of deer.  They look like lawn ornaments.  They are pretty tame.  They let us get close, but not too close.  Dart doesn’t seem to notice them unless they run.  They he barks.  They don’t seem very bothered by Dart, other than keeping some distance.

There are beautiful gardens around here in almost every yard.  Lots of deer salad.

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Deer in Port Townsend.
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Deer in Port Townsend.

 

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Deer in Port Townsend. Perhaps a baby and it’s older brother?
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Deer in Port Townsend.
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Deer in Port Townsend.

Since Verizon throttled me on my unlimited internet access, I have been having significant issues getting basic internet service.  It’s so slow, it often times out.  Regis, on his Apple, is doing much better.  I frequented the local coffee shop with free WIFI the last couple of days and I have no problem when I’m there.   Hmmmm.

 

Discovery Trail

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Dart and Regis walking on the Discovery Trail in Port Townsend.

June 23

Last evening we saw a rainbow during sunset.  This is the second time in a week we saw one.  Prior to this, I don’t think I’ve seen a rainbow for a couple years.  Very cool.

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A rainbow at sunset at Puget Sound.

We went to the local farmers market this morning.  They had awesome produce and flowers. When we got back, we saw a rowing race in progress. It turns out our camping neighbor was in the race and won first place in her class.

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Racers on Puget Sound.

This morning, Dart woke up full of energy.  He drove us crazy.  We took him out on the Discovery Trail, which starts in Port Townsend, to wear him out.  Since it is warmer than usual today, a combination of the heat and the trail did the job.

Soon after we got started, there was two bicyclists and a dog coming our way.  As soon as the dog reached a path to the beach, he left his guardian and ran down to the water to cool off.  Apparently, they had just completed six miles and the dog wasn’t waiting when he got an opportunity to cool off.

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Dog cooling off in the water.

There were birds and lots of flowers along the trail.

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Flowers along Discovery Trail.
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Heron along Discovery Trail.
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Flowers along Discovery Trail.
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Flowers along Discovery Trail.
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Towhee along Discovery Trail.

It also goes by the Port Townsend Paper Company where, according to their website, “produces Kraft pulp, paper, containerboard, and specialty products by blending virgin and recycled fibers at our mill headquarters in Port Townsend, Washington.”

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Port Towsend Paper Company.

While I spent most of the afternoon trying to download some files, Regis had his own dreams.

I tried to use my unlimited Verizon data plan to download the files with no luck.  My computer kept dropping the connection.  I went to town to access some free WiFi.  After two tries and several hours, I gave up and came home.

In the meantime, Regis spent the afternoon with Dart dreaming of racing in the R2AK (Race to Alaska).  I pointed out that I couldn’t get my kayak around the buoy the other day and we couldn’t even make it to Whidbey Island from here, what is he thinking?  He said he wasn’t thinking of me being a crew member.  I’ll be happy to cheer him on from a warm and comfortable location.   (Regis wants me to ask for an early call out for potential crew members).

 

Purple Martins

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Purple Martins (female).

Our new campground has 4 nest boxes set up by the water that have attracted more purple martins than the boxes can accommodate.  There is a lot of twittering, communicating, and bickering going on.  Regis saw two females fall out of the sky latched onto each other.  They parted when he went to get a closer look.  They are a constant source of entertainment.

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Purple martins (female).
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Female Purple Martin.

Our son and his friend are staying in Port Townsend only a few blocks from our campground.  We’ve had lunch and dinner with them the last few days.  It’s been wonderful.  We’ve had a lot of great food and many of the restaurants are right on the water.

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Flower at Point Hudson

Yesterday we went to Sirens for lunch.  It’s on the third floor of a building and we were seated on the outside deck.  While waiting for our drinks to show up, we noticed the crows catching small fish that were left behind in puddles after the tide went out.  They would take the fish and bring them up past the tide line and bury them.  The fish were still wiggling.  After they tucked the fish away in a suitable location, they would cover them with grasses and such and go get more fish.  We could have stayed all afternoon watching these guys.  I will definitely return later this week.  The food was delicious, so it will be easy to return.

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Flowers at Point Hudson

Our son and his friend took the kayaks out.  They kayaked on the shore next to town which happens to be next to the ferry terminal.  They were too busy sightseeing to pay attention to the ferry which had to toot at them to get out of the way because it was departing!

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Gull feeding.

The weather is warming up and it’s been very nice.  Since we are camped right next to the water, we get a cooling breeze that usually requires a jacket.  But, once you walk into town, it’s much warmer.

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We finally got a view of Mount Baker from our campsite.

On our return from dinner, we noticed a beautiful rainbow in the sky.  Today, they celebrated Pride in Port Townsend, so it was very fitting.  As the sun went down, it reflected nicely off the clouds.

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Evening view from our campsite.

Junuary

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A crow with the body of a crab in its beak.

Apparently, the locals call June Junuary because it is cold.  Summer weather doesn’t arrive until the end of the month.  I’m wearing my Florida winter gear while vacationing in Washington in June.

Our son and his friend are in Port Townsend until Sunday and we wanted to enjoy a a campfire together.  Last night was our last night in this campground that allows us to have a campfire.  Today we move to a new campground where we will stay for the next two weeks.  So, last evening we put on our coats and huddled around the campfire sitting as close as we dared in order to warm up.

And, while I sat on the beach in the afternoon with layers of warm clothing on, I saw someone swimming in the water.  Crazy!!!

Regis went off exploring and took a bunch of pictures yesterday.  He left the camera card on the table in the motor home.  When I saw it, I thought I forgot to put the card back in the camera, so I put it back.  Whenever I put the card back in the camera, I reformat it.  Oops!  All those pictures are gone.

Regis keeps an eye on the ship traffic.  He saw a submarine leaving Puget Sound yesterday.

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Ship entering Puget Sound.

I went on a separate exploration and found a White-crowned Sparrow singing his heart out.   I also saw a sea gull stalking a seal.  Every time the seal popped up, the sea gull flew over to it.  I think the seal was actively feeding and the sea gull was hoping to benefit from it.

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White-crowned sparrow in Fort Worden State Park.
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Killdeer trying to lure me away in Fort Worden State Park.
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Seal

There are lots of crows here and they search the beaches and campground for food.  They like to land on top of the motor home and run around.  It’s hilarious.  It drives Regis nuts.

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Crow with a tasty tidbit.

 

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A closer look at the crow’s tidbit.

And They’re Off

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2018 Race 2 Alaska competitors.

We woke before 4:30 this morning to watch the start of the Race 2 Alaska (R2AK).  The sky starts to lighten around 4:00 here, which is taking some getting used to.  We are camped right on Puget Sound, so I grabbed Dart and my camera and walked over the small dune to the beach, sat on a drift log, froze, and watched the boats powered by wind and/or humans race by.

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Sunrise over Whidbey Island

There were numerous boaters out watching the race, so it was hard to tell who was in the race and who was just watching.  I was very impressed with the paddle boarder, kayaker, and rowers.  There wasn’t much wind, so the human power crafts started off well.  But, it’s long way to go.

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Folk watching some Race 2 Alaska competitors as they pass Point Wilson with the sails glowing in the morning sunlight.
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2018 Race 2 Alaska competitors.

I love this campground.  I’ve seen seals, dolphins, fish, and an otter out in the water.  We’re staying in the Port Townsend area for a couple of weeks.  It’s going to be nice to drink a cappuccino while sitting on a log looking out over the water as the sun rises over Whidbey Island and the animals reveal themselves just offshore.