Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Garrison Bay to Friday Harbor to Reid Harbor

After a good night's sleep we got up and got ready to go on an adventure. We had decided the liquor cabinet was low, and there was only one place to get liquor that was accessible...that was Friday Harbor. Since we didn't really want to take the boat over there...we decide to grab a cab. Barbara and Curtiss didn't come along on this little trip, so we called to get transportation for 6. We were given the numbers of 3 companies. Bob's Taxi was busy but San Juan Taxi was not. It was as, you call it, our lucky day.

Susie Juul was a wealth of information. She not only deposited us at the liquor store, she drove us through the charming center of the island. San Juan Island has nifty little lakes, houses and farms. It also has a restaurant that has some fame, and a camel that is an island icon.

Mona the Camel is behind this fence. Mona loves people and loves to be petted. I regret not having gotten out of the cab to pet her.
You can read about Mona's story here.

Here's a better picture of her.

Once we arrived in Friday Harbor it wasn't quite as bad as I was told. I was told to expect Fisherman's wharf on the San Juans and while it was a little more touristy it wasn't quite Fisherman's wharf!

Those drive on and off Ferries were coming and going. We decide to grab a bloody Mary on the way back. I looked at Real Estate ads in the windows and saw property for as much as 5 mil and as little as $140,000. We all talked about what it would be like to live on San Juan.

On our way back to Garrison Bay, Susie mentioned that Orcas had been seen lately off Lime Kiln Point, which was just around the island from where our boat was. She said that whale boats monitor channel 79 and even told us the best boat to watch to find the whales. Armed with this inside information Captain John readied the boat to go see some Killer Whales...

We noticed a number of fishing boats with nets being laid along the coast of the island. They seemed to be in a hurry. I thought to myself I wonder if the salmon run ahead of the whales.

We then noticed a number of whale watching boats in a the same vicinity ahead of us. I thought this must be a good sign....

And sure enough we started to notice black dorsal fins breaking the water, not far off the lighthouse. "There's one!" There's another" There!' There!" There!!!!"

I will spare you the numerous photos of blue water and share with you a couple of better shots. What I cannot show you, but I saw was a whale spyhopping. This is where the whale goes vertical up to around 1/4 his length to see what is around. This whale did this when the whale watching boats had made a turn away from the pod. The other thing I saw was tail slapping. I understand they do this to stun the fish. We saw cartwheels too....where they turn around in the water. But, no breaching. In all we probably were watching around a dozen whales.

While we were watching a large inflatable boat hailed us. They asked us if we were enjoying ourselves and mentioned how wonderful the day was, and how special it was to see so many whales. Then they handed us some information on whale watching rules. You must be 100 yards away. You must be 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile off shore. You cannot get in the whales path. I guess we had violated at least one of these rules. But they were very nice and we called it good for the day. Lord seeing at least a dozen Orcas is good for a lifetime!

We then headed off to our next night's anchorage... Stuart Island and Reid Harbor. Once we anchored the boat we set our crab pot, and I tried some fishing. Then, John pointed out something in the tree next to our boat. Osprey.

There were at least two small birds in the nest and the mother and father. The thrill of watching this little family over the next day watching the coming and going was magical. But the drama when a Heron came to close to the nest was remarkable. The father osprey went one way and the mother went the other. One leading the Heron away and the other circling to protect the young. There was quite a lot of squawking going on while the baby birds cried out in alarm.

Before night fell we pulled the crabpot out and low and behold there was a keeper.

I am sad to say the poor fellow didn't die a worthy death. We waited and hoped to find another crab out there, but unfortunately we came up the meantime... our crab reached its expiration date.

Luckily we had other food to eat... and enough wine to soften the blow of the loss of the crab.

Each one of us knew this was another perfect day. We went to bed with a smile on our faces to the sound of little osprey.....