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Zigzagging past anchored boats and flights of swallows coursing across the water, we made for the channel leading south out of Montague Harbor. The tide roiled through Active Pass at the south end of Galiano Island, where tugs hauling vast log booms waiting in the calm eddies for slack water.

Splashing drew our eye to the west as we neared North Pender Island, where after a couple of minutes we saw a large pod of Orcas. Ten or fifteen of the huge animals moved quickly across our vision. No doubt late for breakfast somewhere, with the flick of a wide black tail they disappeared behind the point and were lost from view. A fitting Canadian sendoff from as drew closer to the border!

We left behind Saturna and South Pender Islands and darted across busy Boundary Pass as huge container ships loomed on the horizon. Through narrow John’s Pass, where the the rocky channel is lined by white teepee’s of Camp Norwester. Grass stood still and dry on the slopes, shining like gold against the dark water and trees. Turning around the southern side of narrow Spiden Island we spied a few dark-haired deer, exotic remnants of a controversial hunting preserve that existed there in the 1970’s.

Friday Harbor is for good reason one of the most popular destinations in the San Juans, and the harbor was bursting with traffic. Whale watching boats jockeyed for space with seaplanes, sailboats, runabouts, and fast-moving ferries. We tied up to the customs dock and waited our turn in the hot sunshine. With all our paperwork completed we moved across the marine to our slips. Later, tied to the pier, we set off to explore town. Friday Harbor is a small town, but the historic center holds many art galleries, shops, restaurants, and the famous whale museum. Truly something for everyone!

As the night settled over town the hustle and bustle died away under the vibrant red-wine sky, until only the rumble of the departing ferry broke the stillness.


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