Ferry terminal employee (not a mean one)

We previously blogged about the fact that everyone in the Pacific Northwest is nice and even tempered.  Since that time, unfortunately, we have found the exception that proves the rule: Orcas Island Ferry Terminal employees.  (Our opinions of residents of the places we visit are of course carefully reached through the foolproof and time-tested methodology of observing one or two examples of behavior and then reaching sweeping generalized conclusions based thereon.)  Sadly, it seems that ferry terminal employees in the PNW can be just as salty as the water their passengers travel over.

Our friend and traveling companion Elle learned this the hard way on our way back to Seattle from Orcas Island when she had the following exchange with a ferry terminal employee:

Elle: Excuse me.  I just heard you tell someone that cars in lane 8 might not make the next ferry to Anacortes (for which we had already waited 2.5 hours).  We were earlier told to be in lane 8 and that we would make the next ferry.

Ornery Orcas Terminal Worker: No.  I didn’t say that.  You’re wrong.  [Walking away.]  And that’s what you get for listening to other people’s conversations.

I was treated with about the same degree of respect when I asked a different question earlier.  No matter.

Orcas Island is a great place, and Seattle is too!  We sandwiched four days in Orcas with our friends from New York Jeff, (the aforementioned) Elle, and their nine-month-old daughter Emme (Emm-ee), with shorter stays in Seattle, staying with Bliss’ sister Caroline in the Wallingford neighborhood.

People in Seattle sure love their coffee.  If you’ve tasted the coffee that some of the local cafes roast, you will know why.  I never really adjusted to West-Coast time so started all of my days in Seattle with an early-morning run, after which I brought back lattes or coffees for me, and the appreciative Bliss.  I recommend Kuma Coffee on Stone Way.

The Barber of Seattle

A female barber I met when taking Jude to get his haircut (pictured) explained to me that she had just left her boyfriend, but out of pity had left him the French press.  She said she was living to regret that decision.  Again, people there take their coffee very seriously.

We had a wonderful time on Orcas Island as well.  Jeff grew up near Seattle, so he knows the City and Orcas really well, and could show us around.  Jeff’s younger brother Jerald-Deane, and his girlfriend, Karin, a Swiss-German, also came out to our rental house for some of the time.

(Jerald-Deane’s name is an interesting story.  Until just before he was born, Jerald-Deane’s parents had thought they were having a girl.  Swept up in the excitement of the Mondale-Ferraro presidential ticket, they decided to name their “daughter” Geraldine.  However, at the hospital at the time of the birth, they learned that they were not having a daughter at all, and instead were having another son.  Were they thrown off at the prospect of having to come up with a boy’s name on the spot?  Not at all.  The solution was simple: “Jerald-Deane” who today sometimes goes by Jerald and other times goes by Deane.)

Out in the kayak

Having Jerald-Deane and Karin around was extremely helpful.  They babysat Jude and Emme so we parents could go out and do fun childless activities, one fancy dinner and one kayaking adventure trip.  Jeff and Elle literally paddled circles around us, as Bliss and I became stuck in a whirlpool.  We all saw a seal from about 10 yards away, many salmon jumps, and starfish.


Culinary Orcas really can’t be beat.  On our Saturday there, Bliss and I ate a dozen oysters each, including grilled oysters from the farmers’ market for breakfast, and many more raw oysters from the resort near our rental house.  The resort served a variety of local oysters (from Washington and Vancouver Island, BC), such as kumamotos from Willapa Bay, for the very reasonable price of $1 per mollusk.  We also enjoyed several marionberry pies from a bakery near the harbor.

Back to Seattle for the end of our stay in Washington, a personal highlight for Bliss was visiting the property where Kurt Cobain, her favorite childhood musician, lived and ultimately took his own life.  Many music fans and grunge lovers continue to make this pilgrimage to this day.  The view of most of his house is obscured, because it is surrounded by a tall fence and thick greenery, presumably designed to deter people from doing exactly what Bliss was doing (sleeping Jude and I waited in the car).  Still, we came as we were, as friends, so nevermind.





  2 Responses to “Washington State: Coffee, Oysters, Pie and Ferry Terminal Employees with Attitude”

  1. Sweetie, it ain’t just Orcas Island ferry employees but their peers at the Bainbridge terminal as well. I was almost evicted from a lane b/c heaven forbid I went 2 mph over 10. He even used the whistle on me. So drivers against salty ferry employees unite! 🙂

  2. Bliss, I will never forget your love of Kurt Cobain! I still remember the day he died…Liza and I came to pick you up for a school dance, and found you mourning his death in your room. I think we eventually convinced you to come to the dance….But, to this day I can’t think of Nirvana without thinking of you!

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