What Makes San Juan Island So Special

San Juan Island information

Anna Maria of Tucker House Inn and San Juan Island Restaurant – Coho, sent me this interesting piece.


Just this week Travel and Leisure ranked the San Juan Islands #10 best island in the world and #2 in the US and Canada.
In 2013, Trip Advisor rated San Juan Island the number one island in the country and number four in the world!

We all know that the San Juan Islands are stunningly beautiful and are great place to see amazing wildlife or have a thrilling outdoor adventure. This week as we celebrated the July 4th holiday, the Island experienced a wave of visitors. If you’re planning on being one of them – and we hope you are! – here are some interesting factoids about San Juan Island beyond the whales, beauty and outdoor adventure.

These first three come from a recent contest run by the Economic Development Council (EDC).

1)      There are more business licenses per capita in San Juan County than any other county in the state of Washington. Chances are, if you have an idea for a product or service, you’ll be able to set up your headquarters here!

2)      There are cannonballs buried in the Cliffside of Orcas Island, left from the Pig War soldiers’ target practice. There are so many versions of the Pig War story. Check out the Harrison House and Tucker House’s version here!

san juan island information about the archipeligo

Mt. Finlayson & Spring Prairie 1 Photo Courtesy of National Park  Service 

More San Juan Island Information

3) Most of the San Juans were originally explored and mapped out by Spanish explorers, and we have an interesting part in Spanish history.

Here are some other factoids from other San Juan Island sources including the Visitor’s Bureau and Chamber of Commerce and from Island naturalists!

4)      128 rocks or small islands in the San Juans have official names.

5)      San Juan County has more miles of shoreline than any other county in the country, at 375. The average real estate value of waterfront property is $1,000-4,000 per square foot.

6)      In the early 20th century the islands were overrun with an infestation of European rabbits. They were very invasive and came from a careless owner on Smith Island. Nobody knows how they got from Smith to San Juan Island. They’re still thriving today.

7)      There are a few stories about how Friday Harbor got its name. The real one is because of Joe Friday, a very influential Hawaiian who was instrumental in settling the town. Island lore describes Spanish explorers mapping the islands, passing the harbor, yelling up to a gentleman standing there to ask what bay they were in, and getting back “Friday” as an answer!

8)      Every day between 4:30 and 6 p.m., one of our islanders goes out to the intersection of Roche Harbor and Westcott Rd. and leaves scraps of raw chicken and fish for bald eagles (we have more in San Juan County than in the lower 48). Often you can park your car and watch as more than a dozen eagles swoop in for a free afternoon snack!

9)      Popeye is a seal who is the mascot of Friday Harbor. She even has her own statue down by the waterfront. Popeye lives off offerings of scraps from the fresh fish shack down on the marina. Meet Floyd, the harbor seal mascot on the west side of the island! He loves to stop by Lime Kiln State Park to say hi to summer visitors. Floyd and Popeye are just two of over 4,000 harbor seals in San Juan County alone!

10)  You wouldn’t think of an island in the Pacific Northwest as a premier scuba-diving destination, but the rocky shorelines and interesting underwater formations of our archipelago are perfect for diving enthusiasts! Jacques Cousteau called the Islands, the #2 place to dive in the world. Rocky reefs and thick kelp forests offer views of crab, corals, sponges, starfish, octopus and more!

That was a lot of interesting facts and information about San Juan Island. Thanks Anna Maria!


Conversations with Anna Maria-Tucker House

over wasp islands orcas

Orcas Island

One of our truly great information resources is Anna Maria de Freitas, owner of the Tucker House B&B, Harrison House B&B and the Coho Restaurant here in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. This is the first in what we hope to be many blogs that we get to post here.

“Many visitors ask about making a reservation for the ferry. Currently the Washington State Ferry run from Anacortes – Friday Harbor, San Juan Island is first come first served. Only the international crossing to Sidney accepts reservations. But that is going to change late this year, December 28th to be exact! Reservations will be available for the east and westward crossing for all of our guests traveling to and from Friday Harbor This new system will revolutionize the current system where you have to queue up sometimes several hours prior to the ferry’s departure. The system is in the final design and testing stage. We will update you once all the details are in place with all the particulars.

So in the interim, we share some strategies and tips for effortless ferry travel. Equipped with these strategies and the new Washington State Ferry app called Vessel Watch, you will breeze to and from the main land to Friday Harbor. Vessel Watch is a life saver. It offers a real time update of how many car spaces are remaining for a scheduled departure. This way you may decide to take a more scenic leisurely drive through Skagit Valley or make a bee line straight to the terminal.

In addition to the Washington State Ferry, there are other transportation options to San Juan Island with Kenmore Air or Victoria Clipper. These are ideal options if your hotel or Inn is walking distance from downtown Friday Harbor and you decide to come without a vehicle. Depending on your travel itinerary and the number in your party, there may be other options as well. Ask your hotel’s concierge when making your reservation. They will be happy to recommend the best transportation option for your party to travel to San Juan Island. Remember getting here is half the fun!”

Family Photo-San Juan Outfitters


Emily 1
Great family photo of the T65As. The calf was born late March or early April. This was taken from the Seahawk that departs out of Roche Harbor. We have seen a lot of transient orcas lately, which has been really cool! Just yesterday we had transients and residents within only a few miles of each other, something that doesn’t happen often.

J16 Doing a Back Flip



The guests on the whale watch boat departed out of Friday Harbor were very excited to see J Pod.  This was taken shortly after J Pods return and guests and naturalist were pleased that they seemed to be sticking around (and if the trend continues, still are).  There were lots of breaches and aerial displays which always makes for excited and happy guests.  The picture from the 5 hour kayak tour that departs out of Roche Harbor was taken with a cell phone, which lets you know just what an experience that must have been!  Guides and guests were rafted up and super excited as J Pod passed in front of their kayaks.  Even the guides came back saying that it was one of the best kayak orca viewings yet.

 SJ Outfitters 1

Spike is Back!


DSCN0109DSCN0101Spike is back and getting ready for action, just returned from getting refurbished and in the final stages of preparations. Hi Adventures await for the coming season. For more details on all the fun, go here DSCN0108


Sailing aboard our traditionally gaff-rigged vessels engages your senses and takes you to another place in time, a time away from a busy world.

The experience and the ship are filled with the history, adventure and romance of a by-gone day. Close your eyes and you’ll hear the wind in the rigging and the water against a wooden hull, smell and taste the fresh salt air, and feel the gentle motion of the boat as she glides through the sea. These sensations have been shared amongst seafarers since the dawn of sail.

Our sails all depart from Friday Harbor, Washington, USA, and return to the same port. Our office is located at the corner of Spring and Front Streets, next to the Cask and Schooner Restaurant, and is open from June to August. Inquiries from September to May should be directed to info@schoonersnorth.com.

28th Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament



P1100989P110099028th Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament- The first two tournaments were held as fund raisers for the San Juan Island Community Theatre building fund. This tourney was such a success that it took on a life if it’s own and for the past 26 years this tournament has raised countless dollars for various non profit organizations all around the Island. Speaking of funds raised, it would be an interesting question to find out how much has gone into the community from this endeavor. I think people would be very surprised at that amount.

Atrist Tour this Weekend



The San Juan Islands Artists’ Studio tour is a free, self-guided tour of 13 working studios, including 39 participants all around the island. The artists are a group of mutually supportive San Juan Island artists who open up our personal studio spaces, often including artistic gardens, to the public for an entire weekend at the end of spring each year.

This free community event celebrates the way San Juan Island artists work and live. In addition to displaying their work, including sculpture, jewelry, pottery, printmaking, glass, fiber and fine art, the artists share insights into how their art is created and what inspires and motivates them in their chosen media.

Follow the link to see the unique benefits of the Artist’s Studio Tour on beautiful San Juan Island in Washington State. http://www.youtube.com/watch

Ogle Fine Art


Right here on San Juan Island adjacent to the ferry landing in Friday Harbor you will find Terry Ogle  and his masterful creations. You can reach Terry at safeharbor@rockisland.com P1100948P1100940P1100944

Memorial Day Weekend Begins


P1100917 P1100916 P1100911 P1100922There coming! There Coming! The parking lot at the Anacortes ferry is doing a lot of business today. Full ferries coming this way.

At the Port of Friday Harbor


P1100860 P1100861 P1100862 P1100870 P1100871Late afternoons are just such a peaceful time on the waterfront. There is a wonderful park along the water, just so refreshing.