A Northwest Celebration of 37 Years of Marriage travel blog

Roche Harbor-the fancy harbor where the sailboats come in and you can...

Lots of sailboats and power boats

Waiting for breakfast-sea kayakers need to eat hearty!

Instructions from our guide Julie

Seals we saw as we were kayaking out of Snug Harbor

The Intrepid Explorer (shot by Susan shooting blind behind her head)

Susan shot this one holding her camera upside down behind her head...

Eagles nest

Log that looked like a dolphin in a cove that also featured...

Decoy Eagle

Sailboat that trailed us the whole time

David and Susan sea kayaking

Real eagle, not a decoy

Captain Spencer and the Island Dream-our whale watching boat

Ruffles and his mother Granny

Ruffles shows his fin

Ruffles gets close to one of the boats following

"J" pod on display

More "J" pod antics

What are these guys doing?

"J" pod carries on

David and the signature lighthouse for San Juan Island

Some of the other boats who were watching whales

These guys came over from Canada to see the whales

August 7, 2008

This is our only full day at Friday Harbor, so we want to make it a good one. The day before we signed up for a sea kayak tour at 12:00, then we were going whale watching at 4:30. Both events went out of Snug Harbor, which is on the other side of the island. On that same side of the island was Roche Harbor, which we discovered was a really fancy anchorage for many sailboats and power boats.

We heard that some people called it "Snob Harbor" but we found it friendly and accommodating.

We had gotten out early enough to find Snug Harbor, which really didn't have much in the way of food, then drive to Roche Harbor, which did have some restaurants. We had some late breakfast at Roche Harbor,

then went to Snug Harbor to meet our sea kayak guide Julie. She gave us some instructions for the kayaks,

then we headed out. We passed some seals sunning themselves on some rocks in the Snug Harbor entrance,

then we rounded the head to explore some of the inlets. The first inlet we saw featured a piece of driftwood that looked like a dolphin

and also had what Julie called a "decoy eagle."

This was a decoy made to look like an eagle. Later we saw some real eagles and their nests on the kayak trip.

Julie took our picture so we would have a record of kayaking.

This kayak trip was a good reminder of some of the realities of our relationship. Susan and I don't dance—we just don't. Our kayaking has some of the same problems—we have no rhythm in our kayaking. I can't stroke the same time she does. I am always faster or off center. So I let her stroke for awhile and then I stroke. So even though we could not do it pretty, we got it done.

Once we got back we buzzed back over to Roche Harbor for a snack (there just isn't that much to do or eat at Snug Harbor), then came back to meet with Captain Spencer, our captain for the whale watching tour.

We were joined by a couple from Kentucky, the Marshalls, and their friend from China who they had helped when she was a little girl and who now lived on Whidby Island. We motored out and soon found ourselves following Granny and Ruffles, two whales from J pod.

There are three well-known resident pods of Orcas near San Juan Island, J pod, K pod and L pod. Recently Granny and Ruffles separated themselves from the rest of J pod. Granny is the oldest whale in J pod, having been born in 1911. Ruffles is her son, born in 1931. Ruffles is marked by his very high dorsal fin.

We got a ton of pictures of them, then we took off for the rest of J pod, which was moving right along snagging fish and showing off.

Susan got many photos of the whales, and the trip was a big success.

We drove back, changed clothes, and ate at "The Place" recommended to us by Capt. Spencer. We had a very good meal overlooking the marina.

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