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A Rambling Writer Rerun: A Visit to the San Juan Islands

Join Thor and me on a getaway through the beautiful Salish Sea and the islands of my native Pacific Northwest.

NOTE: Thor and I are on the countdown to finishing our new house and moving in on May 30th, along with my surgery recovery, so things got a little chaotic this week. Since we will be living soon on the shore of the Salish Sea, here’s an appropriate look back at a 2019 ferry trip through my beloved native San Juan Islands.

Seemingly out of the blue, a former Paleontology colleague of Thor’s contacted him, years after Thor had lost touch with him. Seems that Norm had retired from academia and made a bold move to work for years at Microsoft. Now he and his wife Susan had retired and bought their dream home halfway up the mountain on Orcas Island. And they wanted us to come stay for a few days. Some of my fondest early memories are of family camping trips on Orcas Island, and I’ve always loved taking the Washington State ferries through the San Juan Islands, so off we sailed!

You may notice the low clouds and mist. Even August in the Pacific Northwest can involve cool rain, and our three day trip featured alternating sunshine, clouds, and one real downpour. At least this year we are not breathing wildfire smoke, as we did for weeks last year!

The Coast Salish natives plied these waters in their canoes and thrived on the bounty of sea and land. Then European explorers led by George Vancouver “discovered” the islands in 1791, and a Spanish expedition named the islands the San Juans. By 1859, Washington State and the British on Vancouver Island were tussling over border boundaries, and the tension erupted in the notorious Pig War (triggered by a pig that was shot). No human casualties involved, and eventually the borders were settled. In 2009 (U.S.) and 2010 (Canada), Puget Sound and the Straits of Georgia and Juan de Fuca were officially renamed the Salish Sea.

I’m posting my complete blog entries on my own author website at, where you can finish this episode and enjoy all the accompanying photos. You can also view the complete Italy series there, as well as many other Rambles. Please continue reading by clicking on the link below, then you can return here (use “go back” arrow above) to comment, ask questions, or join a conversation. We love your responses!


You will find The Rambling Writer’s blog posts here every Saturday. Sara’s latest novel from Book View Café is Pause, a First Place winner of the Chanticleer Somerset Award and an International Pulpwood Queens Book Club selection. “A must-read novel about friendship, love, and killer hot flashes.” (Mindy Klasky).  Sign up for her quarterly email newsletter at




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