Days off are few and far between when you own your own business. While we absolutely LOVE the store, and our work, it's still nice to be able to take the sporadic day to enjoy the sunshine together as a family, and Saturday was our most recent adventure. And was it ever an adventure!
We left at the crack of dawn (1pm...) and headed from Everett up to Whidbey Island. Whidbey is one of our all time favorite places to go and get a little salve for our souls. It is boasts a fantastic mix of ocean beachfront, open country, and wooded retreats. I grew up going to Whidbey - Camp Casey (owned by Seattle Pacific University) and Coupeville, to be precise, and so we often find ourselves back and relaxing in these haunts.
Saturday was supposed to be near 60 and sunny - and it was definitely sunny, but with the wind right off the water it certainly didn't feel like near 60. We didn't let that stop us, however, and Ben had a wonderful time throwing rocks in the water and looking at all the things that mommy found for him to be amazed at. Because it was so windy, the waves were wonderful to watch, and Ben was definitely enthralled.
Upon leaving the beach the wind really became fun, as we walked the 10 feet to the "gi-normous" field - and pulled out a kite we borrowed from my parents. Ben LOVES kites - he's watched them, but never flown them himself - until Saturday. After about 30 seconds of watching me, Ben wanted to try - and he took it right up and did perfect. He was so excited we thought he was going to blow a gasket - "YEA KITE!" became the only phrase that left his lips for a good 15 minutes flat. It was a truly perfect parenting moment, watching Ben try something new and exciting, excelling at it, and loving every moment. That silly kite pulled him all over that field for a good 45+ minutes - it's not very often that we can simply sit down on the grass and let him be hundreds of feet away with not a care in the world....
Of course, chasing the kite all over the field left him both tired and hungry, so we "retired" to the car to have some snacks, where we decided - since it was like 5pm and Ben hadn't had his nap for the day, to drive towards the ferry to head back towards the house. We made a small detour in to Coupeville, where we saw our friend Cindy who owns Aqua, a fantastic gift shop right in town. That turned into a beach walk for Ben and me while Janene chatted for 45 minutes - further tiring but exciting Ben (of course.)
We "finally" (not that anybody was worried) made it back into the car, and headed towards the ferry in Clinton. Along the way the truck in front of us slammed on its breaks and we're thinking "whoa, what the heck!" - only to see a Bald Eagle emerge from right in front of the truck. It had been on the ground on the side of the road and randomly decided to take off - and then fly right next to the car for a bit. We're looking out the window and saying "wow - you don't see that every day!"
Well, you might not see that every day but it was only leading up to the next exciting moment, when we reached Double Bluff Beach. Double Bluff is an absolutely amazing beach. It's all sand, and when the tide is out you can walk literally a half a mile out into the bay and the water only comes up to your waist, if that. Janene especially loves Double Bluff, and requested a quick stop so that she could go wade in her brand new rubber boots (she was so incredibly, ridiculously excited about those boots... But she looked hot in them, so I'm fine with that...) Upon arriving, I got out of the car and started prepping things to change Ben when Janene said "Chris, look at that Bald Eagle on the beach! It's eating something - grab the camera and see how close you can get!" Note: had I KNOWN how close I could get I would have taken ALL the cameras...
So...I hop down the rock wall and start moving towards the eagle, stopping every few feet to take some pictures because I don't know how close I'll be able to get. A few moments go by and I find myself within about 20 feet and taking pictures like crazy (nice thing about digital....). After a couple more minutes I decided to see if I could get any closer, so I very slowly moved forward, bit by bit. Of course the eagle is keeping an eye on me - I don't know if he was concerned about me stealing the fish he was eating, or if he was sizing me up for the next course - that bird is HUGE. About 10(ish) feet away it's obvious that the eagle is pretty concerned about this new development, so I stopped moving and waited for him to calm down. I was - duh - shooting as fast as I could without even looking to see what was going on. I mean, it's free, and how the heck often do you get to stand within 10 feet of a Bald Eagle? Eventually the eagle had enough of me and flew another 15 or 20 feet away. I kept taking pictures, wishing I had the video camera - it was so quiet out there I could hear every bite he was taking, every movement he made - it was me and the eagle, and it was amazing.
Eventually he flew away to another spot to finish his meal and I headed back towards the car. And lo and behold, there were two more eagles - one young (less than 5 years old, as it didn't have any white on its body yet) flying all over the place. The people who were out walking their little dogs were a little nervous, I think.... :)
While I stood there talking to a few people, Janene went out and got her wading time in. Ben just chilled in the car - he was exhausted - watching whichever of us was standing outside talking to people. When he got fussy we all piled back in and headed for the ferry - it was a wonderful end to an amazing day.
Seriously, if you live in Washington, you should check out Whidbey Island. Every time we're there we leave with a refreshed soul and amazing memories...
PS - keep an eye on our Flickr Gallery for MANY more pics of the day, and of the Bald Eagle