We were running out of time.
One thing we’re used to after years of a long distance relationship, and living on two continents, is running out of time.
This time we were running out of time in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle and the surrounding areas had been so good to us, it was hard think about leaving already. We wanted to make sure to see something that we couldn’t see anywhere else. Something unique to the area. More than mountains, more than whales, more than underground tunnels. Lots of places have those too (although Seattle does them all really well).
It was time to learn a little about the native culture.
Tours seem to be the best way for us to really hit all the highlights and get a little bit of an education when time is limited. If we had a week to explore everything we saw on this one day we would have kayaked all over the island, camped on the beach, read more books and talked to actual native people. We would have learned to catch and cook the salmon ourselves. We would have tried the dance, and learned the songs and the folk tales.
But we had one day, so we hopped the boat and did the tour, and we’re glad we did.
One of the things we learned? Puget sound is freakin big, and is a giant maze of islands and channels. I had this picture in my head that Seattle is on the coast, facing the Pacific Ocean, but it’s not. It’s about 30 miles southeast of the main channel between Washington State and BC Canada, and it’s nearly sixty miles in a direct line to the open ocean on the west. There are nearly 170 islands in the sound. Our ferry ride from Seattle to Blake Island took forty five minutes, headed west.
It was nice to be back on a boat after whale watching the day before, but we stayed much warmer on the inside this time and just enjoyed the scenery through the windows. Forty five minutes worth of beautiful skyline, green islands, kayakers, sail boats, cargo ships, birds and blue, blue water.
And at the end of the ride? Blake Island and Tillicum Village.
The whole island is a state Marine park, and the birth place of Chief Sealth for whom Seattle was named.
As soon as we walked off the ferry we were in for a treat. Steamed mussels, which is one of our favorites! There was plenty to go around, and we were offered a second cup if we wanted it. As tempting as it was, I declined. I was saving room for the even better treat to come.
And how good looking are these two men? That’s my dad there on the right. He and his wife joined us for the day, and it was really nice to spend some time with them.
We enjoyed more of that rare Seattle sunshine while we slurped up our mussels. The staff made sure to tell us to throw the shells on the path when we were done. It’s a good way to make a waterfront path. The black birds, and the wild raccoon we saw did a good job of cleaning off any leftover bits of meat from the shells once we all headed inside.
Inside, where dinner was roasting over hot coals.
Traditionally cooked fresh salmon.
Inside the main building there were samples of art from the Salish people. We saw paintings, carvings, baskets, jewelry and more.
After a few minutes to explore, we were brought in to the dining hall where we finally got to eat some of that salmon. The smell was killing me! It smelled so good, and I was so hungry.
We filled our plates and found our seats. No sooner did we sit down than the room went nearly black, the stage slowly started to glow, and we were treated to a thirty minute singing and dancing demonstration of the traditional Salish legends.
Bellies full of really good food, and eyes flashing with pictures of swirling dancers we really enjoyed the show.
Then headed outside again to go explore the island while we still had a few minutes.
All the while wishing we had more time and could pitch our own tent on that beach.
Or anchor our own boat in the cove and stay a few days.
We didn’t have time for that, but we did have time to stroll the grounds, and explore the beach where we found some little crustacean friends.
Brian, the man who is afraid to touch nothing at all, no matter how creepy or pinchy, lifted a few little friends out of the shallows. Three little crabs, and two little hermit crabs came up to say hello, and scurried away again back to their shady nooks in the rocks.
We watched that little one scuttle around until he found a nice little white shell to move into. Pretty cool.
And before we knew it, it was time to head back to the ferry.
Time to enjoy the short boat ride and relax before heading back to dad’s house in Tacoma.
Time to remember that we only had one full day left before it was time to go again.
Time to know once again how glad we were to be there.
On the map: Click here to see this location on our Google Map.