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Last week Ken and I and the dogs got away from home for a few days. Whidbey Island was our destination. Whidbey is over 50 miles long and lies at the north end of Puget Sound, otherwise known as the Salish Sea. You get there by taking a ferry or by bridge across Deception Pass at the island’s north end. We took the bridge. It’s a good place for beach walking, exploring small towns and history and eating good food. We did all that and I got to take my kayak out in Penn Cove (where they grow the wonderful mussels) with Ken’s brother.

We camped at Fort Ebey State Park in a beautiful forested setting. It was a short walk to a bluff trail that provided wonderful views of the strait and good birding opportunities. It’s part of a large system of trails for walkers and mountain bikers. Fort Ebey is one of a series of forts that were constructed for coastal defense beginning in the 1900’s. Several of these installations were converted to state parks in the 1960’s.

The dogs had a great time on the beaches and the sunsets were marvelous. Driving across the pass we enjoyed the first dusting of snow in the North Cascades and a walk in the big cedar trees along the Skagit River at Newhalem.

Vieques is known for miles of beautiful beaches. Much of the island used to be a US naval bombing range. That ended maybe ten years ago. Now that land is owned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service however much is still off limits due to unexploded ordinances. Fortunately many beautiful beaches are open. There are also coral reefs that provide good snorkeling experiences. I am not a swimmer but have always thought I’d like snorkeling and indeed, once I got used to putting my face in the water, I really did like it and at the end of the trip, I was wishing for another week just to snorkel!

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