The sun rose once more in a cloudless sky and we raised anchor, bound for Friday Harbor and the United States of America! The arid slopes of Saturna and Pender Island slid by as we approached Boundary Pass. The climate here is markedly different from the rest of the Pacific Northwest. The Olympic Mountains wring the moisture from rain-laden marine systems sweeping up from the southwest and create a rain-shadow. Little precipitation falls here, and you can actually find small cactus growing on the south-facing slopes of many of the islands!
A solitary male Orca patrolled the northern edge of Boundary Pass and he international border. Was he working for the Canadian Border Patrol? He kindly let us pass without incident and we soon found ourselves in American waters once more! We slipped between John’s and Stuart Island and into the heart of the San Juans. Roche Harbor on San Juan Island’s west coast provides a convenient spot both to clear customs and ogle some of the super-yachts sitting at anchor in the idyllic setting.
Underway again we cruise under the sun soaked slopes of Spiden Island, where exotic deer, big-horned sheep, and antelope browse happily in the brown grasses, the descendants from a failed 1970’s era game-hunting preserve that left the animals behind when it went out of business. Dark-winged turkey vultures congregated on the eastern point as we left Spiden behind and made our way south into Friday Harbor, where we tied up to reserved spots on the breakwater. It is a sunny labor day weekend here in Friday Harbor, and there is plenty going on! Live music, a wide array or restaurants, the Whale Museum, the excellent new art museum, and many galleries and shops provide for a wide range of interests.
This is our last night before we arrive in Bellingham, so the crew of Deception hosts a happy hour onboard Deception to discuss our upcoming departure and relieve some of the highlights of the trip. Its surprised us all to think back on all the incredible places we’ve been to and great things we’ve seen over the last three weeks!