Skip to content

Circling San Juan Island


Friday Harbor was fogged in pretty good this morning, but it had mostly burned off by about 10:00am. Our plan for today was to circle San Juan Island, look for some Orcas, and then find ourselves a new place to stay tonight. Before we left Friday Harbor we headed up the dock to the seafood market to see if they had anything we might want for dinner tonight.


We picked up a dozen Shigoku oysters and a pound of fresh Sockeye (and an oyster knife for the boat, because…yay oysters!) 


As we left the seafood market I heard a splash right next to me and looked down and here was this cute little harbor seal trying to get our attention. She'd slap her right fin on top of the water, in the hope (I assume) that perhaps you picked up a spare something-or-other from the market to share with her.


Inside the market — a cool collection of barnacled bottles:



Back at the boat we untied our lines and headed out. It looked like the currents favored a counter-clockwise route. We waited for this sea plane to depart and then off we went around the island.


We mostly hugged around the edge of San Juan Island, but the fog was back until after we got clear around the north end. We probably had a 1/4 to 1/2 a mile visibility but it was great practice for us. We know to be cautious, and we carefully watched radar and scanned the radio and were always aware of the other vessels even before we could see 'em. 


And just like that, it cleared up!



Lime Kiln Lighthouse:


We got down around the south west end of San Juan Island and started hearing orca reports on the radio from the whale watching boats. We continued on around and got to see a whole bunch of orcas! (All I have with me is my Fuji, so these are cropped in quite a bit. Next time: long lens!)



Even the Victoria Clipper slowed down for a bit to watch whales:


We just hung out there for a while watching the whales, and then decided to head to Fisherman Bay on Lopez Island for the evening. I called ahead and they gave us a slip assignment while we were still about an hour out. 

Fisherman Bay has a shallow and winding entrance that could be a bummer if you weren't paying attention because there are some very shallow mud flats. All you have to do is follow the channel markings (we also took advantage of the "Mariner's Eye" view on our Garmin — very helpful!)


Here we are at our new spot for tonight:


The mooring here at Islands Marine Center was 45 bucks ($9 more than Friday Harbor), and comes with electricity, water, and fast Wi-Fi. We're gonna need to get good at the whole anchoring and mooring buoy thing! Once we have our solar panels, inverter, and new mobile Wi-Fi router installed, we'll be less dependent on services. It's nice to have 'em for now though as we're learning how it all works.

All-in-all we cruised for 6 hours today and we loved every minute of it! Here's our route:


And here's the Lopez Island sunset from the top deck of the boat: