A few more of our favorite tunes that really say, “summer!” to us are:
Under African Skies by Paul Simon
You & I by Paper Route
Closer Than This by St. Lucia
Décollage by The Thievery Corporation
Your summer will thank you for adding these songs to its playlist!
Nothing says summer like a boat on the open ocean. So naturally, when my parents arrived in late August for a week, we hit the high seas in the Puget Sound in search for Orcas on a whale watch. I’ve always been a fiend for Killer Whales. I had two stuffed Orcas as a kid who were among my favorites, I greedily chose to study them in first grade when we did a whale unit at school, I loved Sea World and Shamu until I saw Blackfish and now I hate Sea World and feel bad for Shamu. The only Orca-related phenomenon which I was not on the forefront of was Free Willy. It just never stuck with me.
Anyways, we drove up to Anacortes and hopped on a ship headed out to the San Juan Islands, constantly scanning the horizon for the telltale puff of sea spray from a blowhole or a giant splash from a breaching whale. As we passed Decatur and Lopez Islands and began rounding the outer coast of San Juan Island, we began to see Chinook Salmon as long as our arms launching themselves out of the water, a flopping, silvery feast. I had my camera at the ready, loaded with a 300mm telephoto lens I accidentally dropped in the Androscoggin River the previous fall on a camping trip (the photos that I took using that lens came out with a beautiful, artistic effect that was somewhat unintentional–many of the photographs lacked contrast and had a desaturated vintage film feel, which turned out lovely in many cases).
Suddenly, we noticed a cluster of boats up ahead and heard the captain come over the loudspeaker, “We’ve got Orcas! Off the starboard side.”
Sure enough, a pod of about 5 whales surfaced a couple hundred yards away, slapping their tails on the ocean surface, blowing out their breath and diving again. This display began to appear around us in almost every direction. At points we could see over a dozen whales surfacing at once in several distinct groups. Our captain continued to carefully maneuver us through the maze of beasts over the next several hours and once even had to cut the engines when a pod surfaced too close to the boat to safely keep them running. The matriarch of the pod, an octogenarian cow, lead the group and dove beneath our boat so closely that I had to zoom out with my telephoto lens in order to capture her on my camera.
At one point, a massive jellyfish emerged just below the surface of the water next to our boat. I was able to capture a few images that almost appear as if I’m under water with the creature.
Motoring back into the harbor, we stopped by a few deserted islands where we saw dozens of bird species including a rare puffin. The islands reminded me of remote pacific atolls abandoned after nuclear testing left them uninhabitable. Meanwhile, Mt. Baker began to emerge from the clouds to the east and the bright white of its glaciers flashed through the gray in bursts.
We returned to Seattle to spend the rest of the week with my parents celebrating the birth of Audrey, our brother and sister-in-law’s first daughter. We were fortunate enough to meet Audrey just an hour after she was born in the house we share with Brian and Aimee, and have loved watching her grow up these past ten months.
We were fortunate to wrap up a fantastic summer with some of our family, eating delicious food and enjoying beautiful days from the city. Remembering these great adventures has us geared up and ready to go again this year, and we can’t wait to share with you all the new experiences on our horizon.