Once we were all ticketed, we proceeded to take our bags upstairs, park them in the middle of the floor (which was sort of in a boarding line) and look around wondering what to do next. I really wanted to go wander around Bellingham, but I didn't want to saddle anyone with being the bag babysitter, so I opted out of that idea. Instead I went downstairs to see what the gift shop had to offer.
The gift shop had goodies, and lots of them. All kinds of cool tribal art emblazoned items, soap, post cards, clothing, cook books (one all about crab cakes - took alot for me to pass it up). So I shopped a bit, picked up some handmade soaps in a variety of flavors, a nifty tote bag, a stainless water bottle with a some cool tribal art, and probably something else I can't think of. While I was in there I heard some guys talking to the lady behind the counter and I was standing there so I inevitably joined in the chat.
It was apparent that they worked for the ferry system, so I asked what they did. The big guy says "I drive the boat." Of course I didn't believe him, but he assured me that was his job. The smaller guy said he was learning to drive the boat. The big guy started to tell me two stories. One about a guy who jumped ship in the Wrangell Narrows, and another about a dog rescue they took part in (no clue where they dog came from that was in the water). As he started to tell the story about the guy jumping he looked past me out the window and said "oh crap, they're loading cars, I've gotta go," and so I never heard the story (which was bothersome). I paid for my stuff and headed out to grab a bite to eat.
There's a little cafe in the depot and I hadn't had anything to eat since 9am when Rene and I had french toast at a cool place in South Seattle. It was about 4pm and I was pretty starved, so I ordered up a mushroom, chicken and cheese crepe. This also came with a salad and the crepe was the size of the plate (a big plate). I ate about half of it before I was stuffed and headed back up to where everyone was camped out to see what the status of us actually boarding the boat was. The status had not changed - everyone was standing around. Rene and I decided this would be a good time for us to put our workshop binders together, so we spread it out all over the floor and commenced to assembling them. Just before we finished they decided now would be a good time to rally the troops and start boarding. We finished up our project, packed it all up and got in line.
Perhaps you remember my earlier blog where I said we had an absurd amount of luggage? This made boarding a bit of a challenge, but we managed to get it on the boat, only leaving our poster board on deck (which we promptly forgot about but someone else kindly picked up and held on to for us).