Montana Wolf

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Orcas Island Photo Blog

The San Juan Islands includes Orcas 

Orca image upon arrival
Silly me. I would have bet the house (if I had one) that Orcas Island was named for the toothy, stunning black and white dolphins that live around her shores. Turns out that the Orcas "Killer Whales" are more closely tied to Orca, God of the Underworld. "Orcas" Island, on the other hand, is shortened form of Horcasitas, or Juan Vicente de Guemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo, the Viceroy of Mexico who sent an exploration expedition to the Pacific Northwest in 1791. (There's another island nearby that is called Guemes.)

What follows are images of my magical day on Orcas Island, a 59-mile chunk of land shaped like a pair of saddlebags, a short ferry ride from Anacortes, WA. I sought the backtrails and back stories of the island on this special day. Didn't spend much time in the more populated Eastsound. Wouldn't have gone there at all had I not been jones'n for ice cream. Glad it happened. It's a cool little berg and the ginger and deep-dark chocolate cone was the perfect conclusion.

Ferry Arrival to Orcas Island
Orcas Village Store w/phenomenal deli at ferry landing

Typical residence on the island. That driveway was colored glass.

Doe Bay - coming back for sure. Thursday night is open mic at the cafe and the
musicians from the island gather for a great night of music.

Yurt at Doe Bay Resort - my kind of place

Hot Pools at Doe Bay. Clothing optional.

Dock at Olga. Walked down to the end and had an enchanting coversation with an old sailor who had packed up his CA life and moved to Olga 35 years earlier. He told me that Olga was named for the wife of the first postmaster.
Dungeness crabs under the water off the Olga dock. Huge. I was thinking "dinner" except it wasn't crab season.

Starfish orgy off Olga Dock. 

Docked off Olga

From the shores I entered Moran State Park to hike. I chose the waterfall hike.

Meditation spot. It was hard to leave. But ferries don't wait.

Winter Wren along the trail

Mt. Baker from the top of Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island


  1. I REALLY like Orcas, and you've nailed it! Thanks for the memories.
    Great starfish shot!

    1. Thanks, Nance. Me too. A very special place. Not as busy as San Juan. A lot more wild.

  2. Beautiful place! Can't wait to see it.

    1. Hope that's sooner rather than later. I'm already looking forward to my return. Thanks!

  3. All the pics are spectacular but my favorite is the closeup of the ferns. Stunning!

    1. ah, thank you! sometimes the little things get lost in the huge landscapes. The wren... the ferns... so much a part of the magic.

  4. Thanks, Christina, for the splendid photos of Orcas and Olga, in particular. Spent last Monday there with my son's family who live on the island. Also brought back many memories of Olga and Doe Bay "back in the day."

    1. I can imagine that Doe Bay has a novel of wild stories waiting to be told. I could feel the raucous wild past in the midst of the serenity.