Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone
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Thomas McKenzie's Blog.

Orcas Island

Four Orcas, including a baby

My family and I arrived on Orcas Island on June 1st, and we intend to stay here throughout the month of June.  Our church graciously gave me 10 weeks of sabbatical.  My friend Chris offered his family's vacation home here on Orcas for the entire month of June.  God has been so good to us.

Our first couple of weeks here have been, on the whole, fun and relaxing.  We have been to the top of Mt. Constitution, we have visited with local artists and farmers, and we have done a lot of hiking.  We had our friend Emme with us for a week, which was great.  We put together a great puzzle, and now we are on a kick of playing Settlers of Catan. 

The San Juan Islands

The highlight of our trip so far has been whale watching.  There is a cool story about how we got to do this.  My wife was out visiting the local shops, and she struck up a conversation with the lady behind the counter.  They ended up talking about life and the Lord.  It ends up that the lady is the co-owner of a local whale watching ship.  She gave Laura a good deal, allowing all of us (including Emme) to go out the next day.

A Bald Eagle

It was an amazing trip.  We got to see two pods of salmon eating Orca, including a baby Orca.  Our ship couldn't come closer than 200 feet, according to regulations.  However, there were a few times when the whales decided to break the Coast Guard's rules.  More than once an Orca charged toward us.  We saw a couple of dozen whales at least.  If you are ever on Orcas Island, you have got to use http://www.orcasislandwhales.com

After the whales, the captain took us around several islands where we saw pregnant seals, bald eagles, and a private island stocked with unusual animals (like the Corsican rams).  The day was cold but clear and lovely.  It was a three and a half hour trip that I know the Lord gave us; we had a great time.

My goals for this trip have been to a) spend time with my wife and children; b) spend time on my relationship with Christ; c) work on a writing project.  So far I've been able to do all three.  Not every moment has been idyllic, but I'm grateful for my lovely wife, my cool kids, and the great God who has given us this time.

Seals waiting to give birth
A Corsican Ram