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Images of the San Juan Islands

 

Lime Kiln Point at Sunset.

 

The San Juan Islands are a beautiful archipelago located between mainland Washington State and Canada's Vancouver Island. This was my second trip to the islands and it confirmed my memory of them being among the most beautiful places I have ever visited. There are hundreds of islands in the San Juans, but the primary tourist destinations are the three largest islands - Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan. We stayed in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, a small town which is the county seat and the commercial center of the islands. The landscapes of the islands range from pastoral farmland to steep mountains, with rugged shorelines, protected coves, and dense forests around just about every curve of the road. If you have the time, you could easily spend a week exploring the archipealgo, but the San Juans also make an excellent overnight adventure.  The highlight of a trip to the San Juans for many visitors is the wildlife and we were not disappointed - we saw bald eagles, seals, porpoises, and of course - orcas (better known as "killer" whales.)

 

The Washington State Ferry system provides the main transportation link to the islands.

 

Friday Harbor is filled with sail boats.

 

Friday Harbor homes.

 

Lime Kiln Lighthouse and park - the best place on the islands to see seals, porpoises, and orcas from the land.

 

A couple enjoying the sunset. That is Vancouver Island, Canada,  in the distance.

 

A little wider.

 

A Madrone tree glowing in the sunlight.

 

Intensely fragrant wild roses grow all over the islands.

 

A female orca!

 

The females kept their distance from us.

 

Another shot of one of the females of the "J" pod. That is the city of Vancouver in the distance.

 

"Ruffles"  -  the big male of the J pod.

 

Ruffles coming straight for us - he dove under our boat.

 

Surfacing.

 

Quite a view.

 

Our ship captain lowered a microphone into the water so we could hear their vocalizations and the clicking of their echo location.

 

At one point the clicking of the echo locations went into overdrive and we could see a large group together in what our captain called a fishing frenzy.

 

Adios, Ruffles!

 

The Pelindaba Lavender Farm on San Juan Island - gorgeous waves of color and frangrance.

 

The blooms were just beginning to light up the fields.

 

There were many varieties of lavender planted in the display gardens.

 

A wide view of the display gardens.

 

A little touch of Provence in the Northwest.

 

Intense color.

 

This is the formal garden at the "English Camp" - a former British Imperial outpost on San Juan Island.

 

Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island, the highest point in the San Juans,  with a ferry passing-by.

 

Mt. Baker as seen over a lighthouse on Patos Island.

 

Some people consider the San Juans to be paradise - I can see why!

 

Mt. Baker rising majestically over the archipelago.

 

A little closer.

 

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