Summer / 48.5333° N, 123.0833° W / 2014
I spent some time in the Pacific Northwest for work recently and decided to visit home while I was on the west coast. It was great to get out of Florida and be back in San Francisco for a few days. Karl the fog took the day off, allowing the city to be filled with sunshine and warmth. I met up with Trey who was already in town (he travels back every month for work), and together we spent the weekend walking around some of our favorite neighborhoods, soaking up the unseasonably sunny weather at Dolores Park, feasting on Vietnamese food at Sunflower (the best little hole in the wall restaurant ever, I’m convinced), and cheering on the Giants.
I then headed up to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington state to work while Trey stayed behind to finish up his work in the city. I came to this island when I was nineteen. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life so I applied on a whim to a small research program through the University of Washington that allowed six students the opportunity to study a resident population of killer whales and, much to my surprise, got in. I’ve returned a few times since then to work for the Center for Whale Research, a small research lab that focuses on killer whale population biology. The island is pretty remote, with the only access being by ferry or sea plane. It’s one of those places where your cell phone immediately loses signal and you couldn’t find a Starbucks latte even if you wanted one. Every summer around 80 killer whales show up around the the San Juans to feed on the salmon runs from local rivers. After suffering a loss of over a third of their population from marine park captures in the 1980s, they have been listed as endangered and are now studied extensively. I had the cool job of photographing and filming the whales up close as they returned this year to document any new babies, pregnancies, or missing (deceased) members of the population. I’m thinking of putting together some of the footage and sharing it here soon.
Trey came up and met me on the island a few days later and went out on the boat with us. Later, we explored the island, had dinner down by the harbor, and caught a ferry over to Victoria, British Columbia. On our last day, since we were catching red eye flights back to Florida that didn’t leave until the evening, we spent the day walking around Seattle. I love this city. It was 80 degrees without a rain cloud in sight. We made our way through Pike Place Market, walked along the waterfront, and then popped into a pub to catch the USA play Portugal in the World Cup (those last 20 seconds tho!). We had an awesome time and are excited to return.