Further up the coast from Grandma’s Cove was Lime Kiln State Park. The area used to be a hive of lime production – hence the name of the park – but now the focus was on the lovely shoreline and the great views. The inclusion of a lighthouse certainly did nothing to harm the view. There were also the remains of a fortification of some sort on a headland which we had seen from further away when traveling towards to the park up the coast road.
The lighthouse provided a base for a volunteer group that was tracking the wildlife in the area. They had some signs identifying which whales had been seen in the area and when. We did not time our visit there well to see the whales although we did catch some later in the day further up the coast. The volunteers had binoculars to lend out to visitors if they needed them but, with no whales to be seen, we didn’t require them this time.
Take a walk from English Camp on San Juan Island and you are quickly down by the water. One of the trails leads to a lovely little bay called Grandma’s Cove. I don’t know who Grandma was or even whose grandma she was. Why the cove was hers is a mystery to me too. However, she obviously had pretty good taste because it is an idyllic spot. Almost no one was there when I visited. Unfortunately, a couple of guys were down on the beach and were interested in making art in the sand. This disrupted my vision of the shots a touch but, when you are somewhere so lovely, it is hard to be upset about anything for long.
San Juan Island is home to some varied creatures. I swear that, as we drove down one road, we went past a camel. We also saw an alpaca farm. There was a shop that sold all sorts of alpaca related stuff. Plenty of yarn (which was pretty pricey) and various alpaca gifts were available. I wasn’t too keen on any of this, though. Outside, you could take a walk around and see the animals themselves.
There were many fields with the alpacas in them. They were well spread out and didn’t seem terribly bothered by the presence of the visitors (of which there were plenty considering how quiet things were generally). They came in a variety of colors. Food seemed to be their primary concern but occasionally they would look around to see what we were doing. Mostly, though, they were more bothered about each other than us.
We have had some good opportunities recently to see orcas up close. That didn’t stop us looking for them while we were on San Juan Island. The west side of the island has regular whale activity of a few species. When we showed up at the good spots, we met people telling us what had been passing by earlier. We even just missed a humpback (or gray depending on who you talked to) that had come into Friday Harbor. We did get a bit luckier when we got to San Juan State Park.
A bunch of orcas were off the coast a bit north of the area we visited. They seemed to be hanging around in one area so may have been feeding. There are two distinct groups of orcas in the area. The resident group feed on salmon while the transient group like mammals such as seals. This was the resident group apparently. Eventually they headed north away from us but, in the mean time, another part of the group came into view from the south. They transited north although sadly a bit far out for a good view.