EVERETT – Wrapped from head to toe in a blanket Wednesday, Karen Weber of Spokane faced a chilly breeze and daydreamed about 90-degree temperatures back home.
Despite overcast skies and temperatures in the high 50s, 338 people, including Weber’s 3-year-old grandson from Monroe, turned out for the first day of summer ferry service to Jetty Island.
When it’s warm, the narrow, 2-mile-long island with sandy beaches often draws up to 1,000 people seeking sun, solitude and recreation.
“People come out here tense and angry, and the moment they step off the boat, the pace changes,” said Kathe Stanness, a naturalist on the island.
Tall grasses and cottonwood trees give refuge to numerous bird species.
Visitors can see shorebirds, great blue herons, eagles, cormorants, ospreys and Caspian terns, along with harbor seals.
The occasional deer or coyote, which cross the mudflats in search of food at low tide, also can be spotted.
Robbie Hedeen of Snohomish staked out a quiet spot on the northwest side of the man-made island, a short walk from the crowded trailhead.
There, her daughter Saige, 3, was all smiles as she ran around, and on top of, sand castles a friend had constructed with plastic buckets and shovels.
Meanwhile, Hedeen’s other daughter, Jade, 5, huddled under a blanket, drawing in the sand with her fingers.
Heeden said she picked that area of the beach because it’s peaceful and a safe distance from kiteboarders who take advantage of steady winds on Possession Sound.
Samuel Odenborg, 10, of Camano Island didn’t seem to mind the weather.
Returning to the shore after frolicking with his stepbrother in the warm, shallow water, he said he prefers Jetty Island to other, rockier area beaches.
“The beach is really sandy,” he said.