Guests were excited as we departed Roche Harbor and headed straight for Friday Harbor, and straight for the killer whale reports. Once arriving on scene, guests got great looks at the T-49s otherwise known as the transient killer whales. We were lucky enough to see two spy hops and some social behavior!

While sitting right outside of Friday Harbor, guests began wondering about the history of the San Juan Islands (SJI). The islands are over 100 million years old, and can range from approximately 400 islands during high tide to approximately 700 during low tide. The islands were discovered in the 1790s and named after the Spanish Francisco Eliza expedition.

Although it was discovered by a Spanish expedition, it is known for being home to one of the longest wars on American soil. From 1849 until 1872 America and Britain debated the boarder between American territory and Britain territory. Americans believed it was Haro Strait (west of the SJI), while the British believed it was Rosario Strait (east of the SJI). In 1871 the Treaty of Washington was signed, ruling in favor of the Americans.

As people began moving to the San Juan Island, a Hawaiian sheep herded who coined the nickname ‘Friday’ which would soon lead to the town of Friday Harbor.

 

Orca surfacing near San Juan Island