Some time had passed since our last visit to Dungeness Spit so with good weather predicted we trekked out to "where people can spit?".

lavender fields

The Spit is located in Sequim, which has the distinction of being extremely dry (relatively speaking) year-round owing to its location within the Olympic Mountains' rain shadow. Among Sequim's other attractions are numerous lavender farms benefiting from the dry, sunny environment. And, we were soon to learn, some pretty cool marine wildlife.

dungeness coastline

Our first activity was a picnic, followed up with some, hopefully, family fun geocaching. Until now the geocaching excursions have been solely father-daughter, but my wife went along this time, found the cache and even admitted it was fun! The view from the cache location certainly helped I'm sure.

While we were walking back to the car a couple on bikes, who had been leap-frogging us along the path to the cache, said "Did you see the whale?" What?! Whale? We stopped for a couple minutes to watch and sure enough we saw the distinctive spray of blowhole water and the back of the great beast cresting. We were told it was heading towards the Spit, and fortuitously we were as well.


We're clearly not on the "whale sighting" list because when we finally descended to the beach it was lined with photographers who's gear made mine look like I was a child. (I'm talking some serious glass — bear this in mind as you see the marine animal photos. Through the binoculars the views were great, these photos don't do the scene justice.)

The first thing I spotted at the beach was not the whale, but this seal playing in the surf and popping it's head out here-there-everywhere. It acted like a dog (or kid) hiding from its master (or parent).

gray whale

And then we saw the whale, cool! My daughter didn't care, it was just a whale and there were holes to dig with must-have driftwood, but my wife and I were thrilled. People all along the beach would shout "There's the whale!" each time it came up for air.

We hung around the beach for a couple of hours, watching the whale crest but never breach. It just kept swimming back and forth surfacing every couple minutes. I pictured it mouth-wide-open slurping food up and down the coastline.

There was some debate about whether it was a gray or humpback whale. I'm going with gray but I have no idea really, this was my first non-zoo whale.

When the fog rolled in we departed. What had been a view for miles quickly degraded in a manner of minutes to a couple hundred feet until we ascended to the parking lot where we were again greeted with blue skies overhead. The Spit is a cool place to visit — the budding naturalists certainly feel so anyway — and the weather can change quickly so be prepared should you go.

sunflowers and blue sky

On the drive back, on a whim, we stopped at the Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm because the weather was so agreeable and we were in no rush to get home. Good move. The farm is beautiful. The lavender was past prime but standing downwind from 10 acres of lavender fields you'd never know it. The yellow sunflowers, purple lavender, green grass and blue skies with the white whisping clouds — I could have stayed all day (and would love to see the farm at sunset) — but we did eventually need to get home.


I love old barns and I love living here.

Categories: photography  travel 
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