We spent our final day in the San Juan Islands, a beautiful archipelago wedged between Washington State and the south end of Vancouver Island. We began the day by docking in Friday Harbor to clear U.S. Customs before exploring the small town that has become famous across the world for its iconic whale watching.
Over the last couple of decades, the resident southern orca whales that have come to define this place have shrunk in numbers due to a variety of factors, including overfishing, climate change, and depleted salmon habitats. Hard-working people at the Whale Research Center and the nearby whale museum are working hard to educate the public and enact laws to protect salmon habitats and provide more space for the orcas among the boat traffic and people that love them so much.
Many of us took the opportunity to visit the whale museum near the dock, where the life histories and family trees of these amazing animals have been meticulously documented for decades.
In the afternoon, we cruised a short distance north to Jones Island, a marine state park with a maze of trails and campsites framed by a gorgeous forest of cedar, fir, and madrone trees. To cap off our two-week excursion through the Inside Passage, we sailed through the last of the San Juan Islands while an epic sunset bid us farewell.