We tied along the dock at Friday Harbor just as breakfast was served, and after breakfast we cleared US customs to begin another exciting day. Again, the weather was perfect with clear, sunny skies, little wind, and daytime temperatures in the mid-60s.
Many guests chose to wander around the Friday Harbor streets and shops (population 2000). The Whale Museum was a favorite stop as were any of the numerous coffee shops. Others rode the shuttle to visit and hike around the opposing American and British Camps from the bloodless ‘Pig War’ of 1859, located on the southern and northern end of San Juan Island respectively. The confrontation began when a potato-eating pig owned by an Irish sheep rancher was shot by a frustrated American potato farmer. The shooting led to a 13-year dispute between Britain and the US that was finally resolved in 1872 when a German arbitrator ruled that San Juan Islands belonged to the Americans. Nevertheless, the Union Jack still flies over the British Camp, raised and lowered each day by rangers of the San Juan National Historical Park. It is one of the few places without diplomatic status where US government employees regularly hoist the flag of another country (but only for commemorative purposes).
During lunch we sailed south to Jones Island, watching for wildlife on the way. After we anchored, all participated in Zodiac cruises around small islets inhabited by harbor seals, Steller sea lions, and numerous seabirds. The sea lions were especially active, squabbling, nudging, and roaring in order to claim a small piece of the rock as a napping site. Thick beds of bull kelp ringed the islets. We returned to the ship for a cocktail hour lecture on orcas by Michael and David from the Center for Whale Research. They presented a brief overview of the center’s history and presented exciting new data stemming from their ongoing orca research. Short videos were presented in the lounge after dinner for those who still retained some energy after the eventful day.