K-Pod orcas seen from the shore; photo by Libby Baldwin

K-Pod Returns to the San Juans

Over the weekend, orca enthusiasts on the island were thrilled when several members of K-Pod were reported as inbound from an area to the north called Race Rocks. Sure enough, a couple of hours later they were seen making their way down the southern end of San Juan Island. Several whale-watching operators trailed them as […]

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The view from the Orcas Hotel of the ferry landing

Island Hopping – Visit Orcas Island!

Of course, there is no shortage of amazing ways to fill your days right here on San Juan Island…but the beauty of our archipelago is that each of our ferry-served islands (San Juan, Orcas, Lopez and Shaw) are all unique, and have their own unforgettable experiences to offer. This week, I’d love to share a […]

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Need Something To Do on a Cloudy Day on SJI? Here’s 10!

The sun is starting to make its triumphant reappearance here in the San Juan Islands! Thanks to the “rainshadow effect,” we enjoy an average of 250 or more sunny days every year, and receive only about half of the rainfall that our friends to the south in Seattle receive! The “banana belt,” as our area […]

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Charmed by Whales

 Anna Maria and Dave recently enjoyed a well-deserved vacation in Hawaii, and she shared with me the story of an incredible whale encounter that they had. As we approach the start of whale-watching season here on San Juan Island, I wanted to share it with all of you. We hope it inspires you to book […]

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Why Do You Travel?

We often hear a lot about the baby boomer generation, but what we’re hearing now is that they’ve got the travel bug. According to an article from NextAvenue.org, boomers spend almost $160 million every year on travel. There are several categories of travel that are becoming increasingly popular, and most of them are related to […]

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The Best Vacation Resource You’re Not Using

With the advent of the Internet, planning your entire vacation down to the hour has become easy, with online check-in, competitively priced booking websites, and readily available reviews of every hotel, restaurant and activity in any given place. But no matter how much careful planning you do, there will always be something you’re missing in […]

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Island Marble butterfly, once thought to be extinct

See Something Rare and Beautiful on Your Next Trip!

When it comes to wildlife and the San Juans, the first thing that generally comes to mind is the orca. Orcas are unique to this part of the country, and this area is the only one in the United States that has its own population of resident orcas. They are stunningly beautiful, highly social, and […]

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Photo Courtesy of Captain Jim Maya

Update on our Orcas w/ Captain Jim!

The summer of 2013 was the worst summer in a long time for orca sightings, with the J-Pod whales being sighted only 27 times in our area between April and August. But the winter has been excellent, with lots of orca appearances in addition to an abundance of other amazing wildlife! Captain Jim Maya of […]

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Meet the Washington state Poet Laureate!

On January 29, Friday Harbor will welcome a very esteemed guest. Kathleen Flenniken has served as Washington’s Poet Laureate since 2012. She will hand the post over to a new Poet Laureate this year, but before she does, she wanted to make sure to visit every county in Washington. San Juan County is her last. […]

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San Juan Island has some great spots for enjoying year-round tide-pooling. Marine Naturalist Brittany Bowles offers tips on getting the most from your excursion.

Tide Pooling on San Juan Island

Tide Pools can be a place of endless fascination and entertainment, for young and old alike. When the sea recedes on the rocks near the shore, it leaves little puddles of water, often home to delicate creatures that survive in both wet and dry conditions. They may hide under rocks or seaweed to protect themselves […]

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Kevin Roth Yellow Sub 2

Beatles Fans Will Love San Juan Island Artist’s Latest Creation

San Juan Island “Trash to Treasures” artist Kevin Roth has erected a whimsical tribute to the Beatles at the former site of his West Side Free Pile. The grand Yellow Submarine stands behind a memorial bench to beloved islander John Buck, creating a great photo op. The Yellow Submarine is composed of 99% recycled materials […]

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Southern Resident Orcas eat only salmon; humans needs to support sustainable practices to ensure adequate food for these magnificent creatures.

Where are the Whales?

This report came in from Orca Network, July 30, 2013: “It’s been over a week since the last sightings report, mainly because it’s been since July 20 that anyone has reported seeing any Resident orcas, and Biggs/Transient orcas have also only rarely been seen for the past ten days or so. It’s unheard of for […]

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Picnic Basket with Rose

Favorite Picnic Spots on San Juan Island

I adore picnics. Whether it’s an elaborate feast or a simple, impromptu meal, nothing compares with the charm of dining outdoors in nature. Nature’s rhythm and beauty lends an air of serenity to the repast, a feeling of peace and contentment that is not as readily grasped indoors. Decades ago, when visiting Martha’s Vineyard, I […]

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Photo by Jim Maya

What Time Do the Whales Come By?

“What time do the whales come by?” It’s a question we hear almost daily in the summer months. Yes, at first it seems rather ludicrous; obviously the whales don’t check in with us on their schedule. But we know what people really mean when they ask this question. They want to know if there is […]

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J Pod Returns

Islanders and whale watch fans were all abuzz last Sunday with the return of our favorite, J-pod. Orca Network reports they were shuffling and frolicking while foraging along the west side of San Juan Island. Fortunate kayakers and land-based whale watchers had the thrill of their lives with the pod member’s antics – splashing around, […]

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New Restaurant in Friday Harbor

Today I was able to escape the office to try out the newest restaurant in town, Tia’s Tacos. Tiny Tia’s Tacos is tucked away in the old Ellsworth Building (sorry, I couldn’t resist the alliteration) on Blair Street, between the Post Office and the long wall off Spring St. There are a few rustic tables […]

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Grape Harvest

Top 10 Things to Do in the Fall

  Fall is our favorite time of year. The island is less crowded, the weather is usually still gorgeous, and there are plenty of activities still going on. Here are some of our top picks, in no particular order. Art Stock – Tour the homes and studios of island artists and see them in action. […]

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Orca Sing 2012

Orca Sing 2012

  Saturday, June 16 Lime Kiln State Park, San Juan Island 7:00pm   Each summer the City Cantábile Choir, directed by Fred West, conducts a “musical celebration of the environment” at Limekiln State Park on San Juan Island. This annual summer solstice event is dedicated to the recovery of the resident orca population. The gathering […]

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Summer Travel Tips

Naturally, summer is the most popular time for island visitors, and the beauty of the islands rarely fails to impress. With a bit of planning, our local travel tips and some patience, you might be able to dodge those long summer ferry lines. Just remember to slow down to “island time” and you’ll have a “wonderful […]

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Island Events – April and May 2012

April 5 – 29: “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me” is the spring production by Island Stage Left. Plan to catch a performance of this powerful show that celebrates the resilience and the human spirit – “the profound faith in human happiness to triumph over despair.” Director Helen Machin-Smith reports “The audience last night howled with […]

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