Well I've just returned from our first overnight sea kayak trip of the season and have to report back a wonderful success. The weather was absolutely perfect and the wildlife certainly put on a great show, so that coupled with delicious snacks and good company made for a great weekend.
Steve and Robin were Washingtonians with an appetite for adventure, and I'm glad I could deliver. We met in Friday Harbor and walked down to our exclusive launching docks where we discussed the menu, the weather and tide predictions and our combined goals for the trip. It's important to us at SJO that everyone has a wonderful trip, and we'll do anything in our powers to achieve that-- whether that's getting up early to go fishing or birding or staying up late to point out constellations. Robin turned out to be a botanist, so our chance to see Yellow Island in bloom was welcomed. It was lovely to walk around a gorgeous, colorful island and learn even more about each flower. We saw blossoms of every color thanks to the chocolate lily, little pinks, purple camas, stonecrops, shooting stars, Indian paintbrushes and even prickly pear cacti in bloom.
Wildlife was a large focus of this trip, and it started off well with almost immediate sightings of black-tailed deer on the beach and bald eagles soaring overhead and next to us. By the end of the second day we'd gotten up close and personal with a family of mink (one coming within a few feet of Robin!), seen river otters fishing in our little cove, spotted numerous harbor seals both swimming nearby and lounging in the sun on close rocks, identified a few different types and colors of sea stars in the intertidal zone, walked around our site in the company of friendly deer, heard the insistent cry of black oystercatchers each day, and watched a small pod of harbor porpoises feed just off shore of our camp. After all the wildlife seen on the first day, we hardly had expectations for more, however the best was yet to come.
It happened after dinner as we had settled on a grassy overlook to watch the sun set over Salt Spring Island. It was a gorgeous sunset, full of bright colors and puffy clouds. We were concentrating on the sunset, so it was a great surprise to see the harbor porpoises resurface. This time their tiny black dorsals made a beautiful contrast against the glassy pink waters-- fantastic!
All in all, this overnight was a fantastic trip-- I can't wait to see what else lies in wait for this summer.
P.S. This weekend's trip was also a great example of going car-less on the San Juans. Steve and Robin left their car at Anacortes and walked on to the ferry the morning of our departure. After arriving at Roche Harbor the second day, they were shuttled back to Friday Harbor via our company van just in time to walk on to a late afternoon ferry home.
P. P. S. Pictures to follow.