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Victoria to San Juans -- major ferry question -- please help!

Victoria to San Juans -- major ferry question -- please help!

Old May 6th, 2007, 08:52 PM
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Victoria to San Juans -- major ferry question -- please help!

I am a little concerned about our ferry situation. On a Monday in July, we will be traveling from Victoria to Orcas Island. The summer ferry schedule just came out, and it seems as though the only ferry to Friday Harbor leaves Sidney at 6pm, which would get us to Friday Harbor in time for the 10pm ferry to Orcas. Would this have us checking in after 11pm!!
Do we have any other options to get to Orcas earlier (we have a car) ?

If not...
If the ferry leaves Sidney at 6pm, what time would we actually arrive in Friday Harbor?
The ferry to Orcas leaves at 10pm, so what time would we have to line up with our car (no reservations, i believe for this trip)? would we have time to walk around Friday Harbor or drive over to Lime Kiln State Park?

Thanks,
dina
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Old May 7th, 2007, 08:31 AM
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Yes, this is what I've mentioned to you several times would probably be the case based on the ferry schedule for recent years. Your other option would be to take the morning ferry all the way to Anacortes, then turn around and put your car in line and take whatever the next ferry is to Orcas from Anacortes that you can get on. If you end up having to wait a couple hours, the walk/hike at nearby Washington Park is a nice one.

If you do decide to take the evening sailing, you'll probably get into Friday Harbor around 7:15 PM, and you should be ok with lining up for the Orcas ferry an hour to ninety minutes in advance, so that would give you enough time for a quick trip over to Lime Kiln (although you obviously wouldn't have much time to sit and see if the orcas happen to swim by--I personally would probably opt for a quick trip to American Camp). But check with the ferry attendants in Friday Harbor to be sure. Otherwise, just put your car in line when you arrive in Friday Harbor and go have a nice dinner.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 03:19 PM
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Thanks, NW. I think we'll probably go for the dinner idea.
Can we really just "leave" our car in line and walk into town for dinner? Is that allowed?
That certainly sounds pleasant enough!
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Old May 7th, 2007, 06:19 PM
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Yes, normally that's what you do. Check with the attendant to make sure there won't be some reason to move your car but they have it pretty well organized so that you usually just park your car in line and don't have to move it until you are loading onto the ferry.

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Old May 7th, 2007, 08:06 PM
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Great.
So now i need to reserve the Sydney to Friday Harbor route and look into restaurants in Friday Harbor for dinner

Can i reserve the Friday Harbor to Orcas ferry?

thanks so much, NW, you have been such an amazing resource for me!

dina
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Old May 7th, 2007, 08:26 PM
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No, no ferry reservations on anything except the international portions of that route (i.e., to or from Sidney).

I like The Place on the waterfront for seafood. I've also heard good things about 120 Nichols but haven't been yet (it just opened last summer).

As always, I'm happy to help ;-)!



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Old May 7th, 2007, 09:26 PM
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do you think the shops in Friday Harbor will be closed by 6pm?
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Old May 8th, 2007, 06:56 AM
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Probably. Things seem to close pretty early up in the islands. I tried looking at the websites for a couple of shops in Friday Harbor but none of them had hours posted so it's hard to say for sure.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 10:14 PM
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Thanks, NW.

Just curious about your preference to drive over to American Camp instead of Lime Kiln State Park. Do you think the scenery is better? Do you think it's too late in the evening to see whales at LK?

dina
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Old May 9th, 2007, 06:39 AM
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Yes, IMO the scenery is better--great views of the Olympic mountains and a wide open beach to walk on. Lime Kiln is actually a very small park and it's totally random as to when the whales might swim by. I've been there multiple times and never seen them (although I do always hear, oh you just missed them LOL).
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Old May 9th, 2007, 06:44 AM
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Oops, I hit "post" before I meant to. Anyway, unless you have a couple hours to just sit and watch from Lime Kiln, IMO it's probably not worth it. Of course, you could hike out there to the viewing area and bingo, they'll be swimming by--it's just random. But there should still be plenty of light around 8 PM if you do go (your trip is relatively early in July, right?).
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Old May 9th, 2007, 07:44 AM
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I don't want to hijack this thread, but have a quick question for NWWanderer. If we had one full day to spare on our trip, does it make any sense to take our car to Orcas Island and/or to Friday Harbor for sightseeing for the day. We would stay 2 nights in Anacortes and take an early ferry over and the last ferry back. We would do this in May as a last minute add on to a trip we are making to BC from Seattle.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 08:13 AM
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What day of the week would it be?

For planning purposes, I'd count on putting your car in line at least an hour in advance on either end, longer if it's the weekend.

What do you want to see/do in the islands? You might be able to get away with not having a car depending on your interests.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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Basically, I just want to sightsee and satisfy my curiosity about what the island scenery looks like. I would want to drive around Orcas Island, go to Moran State Park, walk around for an hour or so, go to San Juan and see the camps, and leave. I don't need any sitting around and relaxing time nor any shopping time. I would only attempt this as a day trip mid week, but can it be done from Anacortes in a very long day? We are from Massachusetts and have been to Martha's Vineyard so we know what an island looks like, but I have heard that the San Juans are "special". What do you think? This would be at the tail end of our one week trip to BC, so if we do not go to the San Juans we will put the time into extending one day on one of our other stops.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 10:40 AM
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Yep, it can be done in a long day if you go midweek--just be prepared to spend at least an hour in line for each of the 3 ferries you'll be taking, very likely less for the interisland one, and longer for the one back from Friday Harbor in the evening (that one always seems to have the longest waits--so go have dinner while you're waiting).

Although being originally from MA myself, for me, what's "special" about the San Juans is the slow pace and the stuff you find and see just driving around the backroads so I'm not sure you will get that in a day trip, but you can always come back another time for that ;-).

My suggestion for Moran would be to drive to the top of Mt Constitution and do at least part of the trail from there back down towards the old mid-mountain observation tower (I can't remember the name of the trail though). The view from even the first 15 minutes of the trail is well worth it plus you'd get away from any crowds up at the top. And try to make time to find Orcas Island Pottery out on the west side of the island if you can--even if you don't buy anything, it's just a cool place.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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Is there a reason to go first to Orcas and then San Juan . I see that both islands have a ferry leaving for Anacortes at 8PM?
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Old May 9th, 2007, 01:39 PM
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Well, there would be more restaurant choices while you're waiting for the 8 PM ferry in Friday Harbor than at the Orcas terminal. But otherwise, actually it would be slightly less expensive to go to Friday Harbor first then work your way back, as you only pay for ferries heading westbound, so the Friday Harbor/Orcas leg would be free if you go in that direction.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 03:03 PM
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Thanks so much for your help.
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Old May 9th, 2007, 08:33 PM
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Thanks, NW.
American Camp sounds great, but now
I actually think we won't have much time to drive anywhere! Do you think this timetable is sounds right?

- arrive at Friday Harbor at 7:15
- park car at ferry, walk around town and to dinner restaurant for an 8:00 reservation
- Back to car by 9:15
- ferry leaves at 10pm

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Old May 9th, 2007, 11:18 PM
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You wouldn't need to be back at your car until just before the ferry loads, so about 9:45 ish. So you could possibly push back your dinner to 8:30 and take a quick drive somewhere, but no, you're not going to have a lot of time.
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