Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Do You Have to Take a Ferry?

We hear that a lot when people find out we live on an island.  Here's the story.  Washington State has  3,026 miles of tidal shoreland, 53 major islands and many more outcroppings in local waters that aren't named or that are named with cute names like Hat Island or Baby Island. We live on one of the 53 major islands.  The largest ferry system in the U.S. carries people to and from these islands.  Camano Island has more than 13,000 full-time residents and many of them drive (yes, we have a bridge) to nearby Everett to work at Boeing or take the train from Everett to Seattle for work (a grueling commute if you have to drive).

When we're at Camano Island State Park, we look toward Whidbey Island--it's there in the distance.  It looks close but it takes nearly two hours to drive there.  People here on the island vehemently oppose any suggestion of a bridge.  Lots of driftwood washes up on island beaches during the winter.

In addition to Camano Island State Park, we have Cama Beach State Park and numerous county parks.  During the summer tourist season, the population grows by  as much as 3,000.  With a few exceptions, Washington beaches are accessible to the public from the line of mean high tide so there are very few beaches here on the island--or anywhere in Washington, for that matter--that are not open to the public.

Some cool stuff about the island--we have a heron rookery on the north end of the island.  It means we see at least one heron when we travel within about 25 miles of the island.  There are many trails on the island.  This is my favorite--it's at the state park.  It's on top of a bluff overlooking Saratoga Passage & Whidbey Island.   It's not unusual to see Bald Eagles as we walk on this trail--they have a nest in one of the trees. At one point in the trail, you can look down & see the boat launch.  The fishing is great in Saratoga Passage.  Jim fishes for salmon from shore! People also catch thousands of Dungeness crab during the season.

But I'm getting distracted--this is about the end of the road.  There are 11 homes in our little neighborhood.  Our next-door neighbor, Dave, is Jim's ex-father-in-law.  They get along very well and are great friends.  Jim's ex-wife has moved back to her Dad's two or three times--that's an exercise in acceptance for me!  A sense of humor comes in handy too.  Once she moved a 40-foot motorhome onto her Dad's property & lived there about a year!  I'm so thankful Jim planted trees along the property line many years ago.

Our lot is quite wooded & we have a nice trail where Jim, Ari & Slim take walks.  In the spring, our crop of 'old growth' nettles pop up.  We could harvest the stuff & pay our property taxes for a year!  Nettle tea, anyone?
C'mon, Dad!  Let's go!

We have Douglas fir to the south & north of us & we have a lot of Nootka rose (a native to the Northwest--it makes the best rose jelly!!).

 This is one of the county parks where we frequently take walks.  Yes, more driftwood.  And vegetation--lots of that!
And the best part--we were married at Camano Island State Park.  Best day of our lives!
Thanks for stopping by.  Take good care.


  1. An interesting post that I enjoyed reading.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

  2. Looks like you have the start of a good blog post well under way.
    Also see that you have two of the best blogs going Rick and Paulette's Rv Travels and Travel with the Bayfield Bunch. Rick is great at technical advice and Al is a great photographer.
    Always remember the true purpose of a blog is so you will be able to look back as a reference the the travels or daily happenings in your life.
    Thank You for your kind words for our daughter's recovery.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  3. I'm a wood carver. Is it legal to pick up driftwood on the island?

    1. I actually had a hard time finding the answer to your question. Basically, it depends on where you are. Several sources said it was not--that driftwood stabilized beaches & provided shelter for birds & other animals. If I were you, I would check with local authorities & talk with them.

  4. Thanks for the tour of Camano Island. We love the northwest and have enjoyed visiting some areas in Washington, but not your island. Looks very nice. Great start to your blog.

    1. Thank you so much, Donna. We're very fortunate to have so many great places to visit here in Washington state!

  5. Appreciate the tour and info on Washington. I just learned a lot more than I knew. We are thinking of heading up the west coast this year and perhaps up to Washington.


    1. You'd love it here. Let us know if we can be of help--possibly meet up?

  6. Looking forward to your retirement and reading of your adventures.