Our expedition began with a sunny and calm day at Friday Harbor on the San Juan Islands. Back in the 1800s, this archipelago was hotly contested between the United States and British nations after the treaty of Oregon left some room for interpretation. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed with no shots fired between the two nations, and we had the chance to tour the camps of the two nations that were occupied until 1872.

We also found time to visit The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, where scientists have meticulously catalogued the southern resident orca whales and other marine mammals of the region. The southern resident orcas are threatened by a lack of king salmon, increased ocean noise, and other external factors. The work by researchers supported by the museum has laid out several steps that may yet save this unique and inspiring population of orcas.

Our day concluded on the west side of San Juan Island at the iconic Lime Kiln Lighthouse. While we weren’t lucky enough to spot orcas charging through the Haro Strait, the marvelous afternoon sun baked our faces while we explored the shoreline and snapped pictures of this fantastic country. Tonight, we pull up the anchor and make the short voyage across the strait for the capitol of British Columbia, Victoria!