Portland was nice despite the rain. We mostly spent out time trying coffee shops, finding the types of food we were craving, and stopping in some cool vintage/second hand stores. We did check out a little home museum we'd seen a listing for on the Atlas Obscura: the Zymoglyphic Museum. The owner and artist (though he humbly refuses to call himself one) kindly scheduled a visit on a day he is usually closed; we both thoroughly enjoyed his collection and assemblage of weird and wonderful odds and ends and bits and pieces. His somewhat surreal scenes and absurd creatures were all very neat to scrutinize. It was certainly not for everyone, but then again, what art is?
We spent some time thinking about the last leg of this portion of our trip. We were a bit ahead of our flexible schedule, but we did have flights to work around (one final trip to LA for our friends' birthdays); after much figuring, we decided to spend only 10 days on Vancouver island, then come back to Seattle for our flight.
The rain only cleared up once we were halfway across the Juan de Fuca straight, the narrow channel separating Washington from Vancouver Island. In Victoria, I was able to take a break from my usual job as navigator, as Luis showed me around his old home town.
The seals barked in the mornings, and we spotted at least one otter gliding through the kelp. Stellar's Jays would come around cleverly trying to steal food scraps, and one evening, just as we had finished roasting potatoes and peppers with herbs and garlic on our campfire, a neighbour came by to warn us of an approaching black bear. Sure enough, he was wandering over following his nose...we decided to eat as fast as we could and burn the evidence. A few people left, but we weren't too worried; there were a lot of people camped on the beach for the long weekend, and everyone was alert. The bear ended up detouring back into the woods to check out the first stack of bear boxes while people rushed down the beach to hide their food in the farther boxes.
We had another unwanted visitor: a mouse had gotten into the car. Luckily, it seems that it had also gotten back out; we took everything out of the car, re-sorted it, and re-packed it. It was about time we did, too!
After a bit more exploring in the forests around Port Renfrew, we boarded the ferry back to Port Angeles, heading to Seattle for our flight, and a long weekend in LA. Once there, we split our time between our friends' place in town and the house they rented in Malibu for the birthday party, where we saw pelicans and parakeets, dolphins catching fish in the shallows, seal lions, and even a whale and her calf swimming by close to shore!