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USA: WASHINGTON islands: Bainbridge, San Juans, Whidbey, Fidalgo, Vendovi

View Tom Dempsey’s photographs of Washington islands, including Bainbridge, San Juans, Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands.

Bainbridge Island

The Bloedel Reserve is a 150-acre forest garden on Bainbridge Island, Washington, made by the vice-chairman of a lumber company. The Bloedel Reserve has both natural and highly-landscaped lakes, immaculate lawns, woods, a traditional Japanese garden, a rock and sand Zen garden, a moss garden, a rhododendron glade, and a Reflection Garden. The Bloedel’s French Chateau-style home is preserved as a Visitor Center, including many original furnishings. Reservations may be required. The following photos portray Bloedel Reserve near peak fall foliage colors on October 19, 2005.

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San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands can be reached via the Washington State Ferry Terminal in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island, Washington, USA, or from Sydney (near Victoria) on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Ferries dock at Friday Harbor after visiting Orcas Island and other islands in San Juan County. From the ferry, admire the volcanic cone of Mount Baker rising to 10,775 feet elevation near Twin Sisters Mountain on the mainland. The San Juan Islands archipelago is in the Salish Sea, north of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, west of Rosario Strait, east of Haro Strait, and south of Boundary Pass and the Strait of Georgia.

On San Juan Island, in Lime Kiln Point State Park, watch for orcas (killer whales) which cruise right off the shore near the 1919 Lime Kiln Lighthouse. Visit American Camp and English Camp to learn of the historic Pig War 1859-1872, which peacefully arbitrated the San Juan Islands into the territorial United States.

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Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands

Whidbey Island, the largest island in Washington, offers many good photo opportunities. Visit popular Deception Pass State Park, where State Route 20 crosses a 180-foot high bridge over swirling saltwater currents of the Salish Sea. Tugboats shepherd huge log rafts through Deception Pass. Watch bird life such as Great Blue Heron and Bald Eagle. Admire lichen covered old growth trees on quiet walks. Indian Camas (or Indian hyacinth or Wild hyacinth, Camassia quamash) and other wildflowers bloom in spring and summer. Visit Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, including: Admiralty Head Lighthouse (built 1890) in Fort Casey State Park and Crockett Blockhouse. In Meerkerk Gardens, admire a colorful concentration of hybrid rhododendron flowers blooming in late April.

Drive to Fidalgo Island on the north side of Deception Pass Bridge. At Anacortes, see oil refineries, oil tankers, boats, docks, and catch a ferry to the San Juan Islands. On a clear day, see the volcanic cone of Mount Baker rising in the North Cascades 40 miles to the east.

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Lummi and Vendovi Islands, plus parks south of Bellingham

Lummi Island is west of Bellingham in the Salish Sea, in Whatcom County, Washington.

Vendovi Island lies across Samish Bay from mainland Skagit County, between Guemes Island and Lummi Island in the Salish Sea, Washington. The former Fluke family vacation home greets public visitors in a small bay on the northwest side of Vendovi Island. Register for day use and walk the nature trails to beaches and bluff views. The San Juan Preservation Trust, a land trust that conserves open space in the San Juan Islands, purchased the island in December 2010 from the family of John Fluke Sr. Vendovi Island was named after a Fijian High Chief Ro Veidovi who was brought to North America by the 1841 Wilkes Expedition. To keep the island open to public access, support the “Campaign to Save Vendovi Islandat

On the mainland, south of Bellingham, the hikes to Oyster Dome and North Butte in Blanchard State Forest offer nice views of Sammish Island and the San Juan Islands. To further vary our training hikes in this area, we’ve also enjoyed hiking on Chuckanut Mountain and in Larrabee State Park.

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