Kayaking with Orcas

Kayaking with the Orcas has been on the agenda for a long while and was a perfect plan for Quinn’s and my annual father/daughter trip. We took the 1 ½ ferry ride from Anacortes to Friday Harbor Washington. It was raining so the trip out through the San Juan Islands offered little. Friday Harbor is a very pretty little port town established in 1845 as part of the Hudson Bay Trading Company settlement of the original Oregon Territory.

Raining most of the afternoon and night allowed little to see and not much to visit in the town. We started the next day with slightly better weather. Seas were a little high, maybe 3-foot waves, and we were drenched by several rain squalls during the 9-mile kayak trip to our camp site. Besides our guide, there was another kayak in the tour with two women. They were getting seasick on the paddle out, but they persevered. Quinn and I enjoyed surfing the waves. We stopped for lunch on a rocky beach and warded off pesky racoons who wanted to share our food. We saw no Orcas.

We did see Battleship Island, so named during the 1859 Pig War with the British. The San Juan’s were settled by both American and British colonist, but the international border was not determined at the time. A wayward British pig wandered onto an American farm and ate the potato crop. The American farmer shot and killed the pig. The British and American farmer could not reach a settlement, so a confrontation was started between the British and American troops. It escalated to almost a war, but politics intervened, and a truce was established. The British and American fleets were to meet each other and fire a cannon salute. It turned out to be foggy and the British fired a salute when the saw what they thought was our battleship. They actually saluted the island. The pig was the only war casualty.

Camp was on Posey Island, the smallest state park in Washington. The island was full of flowering bushes that smelled like lilacs and their fragrance was great. The weather cleared, and the seas calmed to offer a beautiful little 3-mile sunset paddle. We saw no Orcas. After a good meal and some wine and later, whiskey, we retired before the evening rain arrived.

The next day the weather was clear, but the wind, seas and currents were extremely tough. We struggled the 9 miles back hugging the coastline to find the smoothest water possible. We saw no Orcas.

At Friday Harbor, we had drinks with our two new friends and they extended their stay to schedule a whale watching trip. We were headed back the following day, so instead, we went to the whale museum where we saw paintings, models and toys of Orcas. Our friends saw Orcas.

It was a great trip nevertheless. The kayaking, camping, and spending time with Quinn made the trip. Quinn swears she did see an Orca on the return ferry ride. See pictures below.

(click on any picture and see large pictures and slide show)


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