This past weekend's overnight was one for the books, or in this technological day, one for the blogs! Try as I may, I feel my words will pale in comparison to the outstanding trip our lovely guest had this weekend... but here I go. Friday morning came with some much needed rain for the San Juan Islands. Things had been quite dry, and so locals alike were happy to see the precipitation. I was worried it would affect the guests mood and excitement but when Tyler and I arrived at Memorial Circle, everyone was in good spirits and excited to kayak. Things went there normal, lively pace; introductions, packing of dry bags, fitting of kayak gear, an educational lesson on proper paddling, and like that, we were pushing off the docks from Roche Harbor. Though it was rainy, the islands were still beautiful from the low seated perspective of a kayak and we made quick, efficient channel crossings headed across to Stuart Island. As we paddled, we were fortunate to experience the San Juan's wildlife diversity, such as, harbor seals (and their pups!), bald eagles, many different species of jellies, and jumping pink salmon. Little did we know what adventures the waters around Stuart Island had in store for us.
Jump ahead to Saturday. Mother Nature began to reward us and we awoke to sunshine, clear skies, and little wind; a perfect day for a paddle to Turn Point off the northern end of Stuart Island. With bellies full of a warm, homestyle breakfast we were off paddling north. Rounding Turn Point, guests took in the spectacular views of the lighthouse, surrounding Canadian islands, and geology of Stuart Island. We landed at a remote beach for lunch before making our way back to camp, and before things got really interesting. As we approached Prevost Harbor, kayak guide Tyler began to notice many boats in the distance moving towards us from the east. This movement caused use to pause and inform our guests about what we were anticipating, a possible encounter with a pod of killer whales. Our group paddled in closer to shore and rafted up just as we saw a large, black dorsal fin of a male killer whale approaching us. This whale would be the first of many we were fortunate to encounter, as killer whales can travel a hundred or more miles a day, and on Saturday about 40 southern resident killer whales from two pods were following a salmon run past Turn Point. As we sat rafted up, the whales traveling in small groups passed closely by giving our guests an experience they soon will not forget. With photos and videos, our guests can relive the experiences and try to pass it on to family and friends, yet our Saturday shared with the whales was special, and not something easily put into words or captured by lens. It was a beautiful day that kept spirits high for the remainder of the trip. We couldn't help but to smile at one another, remembering how lucky our day had been and united our group had become from such an amazing experience. We must, however, remember and thank the San Juan Island's for providing such an rare opportunity and just hope to have another alike experience. What a whale of a trip.
Thanks for listening,
Kayak guide Jaclyn