Wednesday, August 31, 2016

San Juan Islands

As a follow up to the last post...

I see the San Juan Islands from my house windows. And yet, just because this little corner of Washington state is my backyard, doesn't mean that I should neglect writing about it.

On anchor at Spencer Spit, Lopez Island

Image result for map of the san juan islandsThe Salish sea - that's the body of water that surrounds the San Juan Islands - is an incredibly unique bioregion. The islands are known for their 'high amenity' meaning that there is a lot of recreational activities that draw tourists; its a great location to live and work; there is abundant wildlife, and the natural setting is awe inspiring.

At this point in the summer, the ferries are filled to capacity with visitors from around the world. I've been volunteering over in Friday Harbor and I've talked with so many people who are coming out to the islands for the first time.  Whether they are walking on with rolling suitcases or have a car packed to the rafters with camping gear - everyone is coming out for some island time - and maybe a little adventure.

Link to tourist info for the San Juan Islands

I first started coming out to the San Juan islands by boat. My arrival points were not ferry docks but harbor docks. There are about 172 islands (and named reefs)in the archipelago but only four have ferry service. Some islands are private, others you need an inter-island taxi or seaplane to get to. Many of the smaller islands are accessible by pleasure boat or kayak. Out of the four main islands, San Juan, Lopez, and Orcas tend to offer the visitor the most activities. Shaw island seems to happily get on without trying to entice tourists.

Early morning ferry coming into Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
I'm going to keep coming back to these islands here at Going Out Your Door - there's just too much to say that can't be condensed down into one post. The islands are beautiful and, sure, there's lots of things to do here; however, there is also a very unique ecosystem here that seems so abundant - and actually very fragile. There is history to be found on these islands - wars that almost started, rum runners and lighthouse keepers; pioneers and first nation tribes. You can see the handiwork of the glaciers on all the mountain tops while catching glimpses of orcas moving through the deep waters.

For more information on this incredibly rich bio-region, check out the blog Ecotones of the Salish Sea

Ferry Schedule: Anacortes to Friday Harbor

No comments:

Post a Comment