Friday, May 30, 2008

Kayaking Season in the San Juan Island is Upon Us!

The San Juan Islands are one of the most beautiful sea kayaking locations in the world. Advanced to beginner, the islands offer great tours with time spent on the water that will leave lasting memories of picturesque views and memorable wildlife encounters. It is not uncommon to happen upon the local resident community of killer whales on the west side of San Juan Island..and your day should be filled with watchable wildlife at every turn. River otters cavorting in the kelp bed, eagles perched on treetops, herons hunting the shallow- the islands offer it all.

Bald Eagle Overlooking the Haro Straits print

Kayaking at Sunset Postcard postcard

Commemorate your trip to the islands by visiting one of the local retailers or be sure to check with your tour operator to see what they have to offer. I also have some kayaking gifts on Zazzle! You may want to visit and check them out-

Kayak Shirt shirt

There are many choices in the islands- be sure to check out your selected operator to ensure they follow the Whale Watch Guidelines established to protect the southern resident community of orcas. You can obtain a downloadable brochure at the Whale Museum's website here:

Whale Watch Guidelines

Whale Watching
+Be cautious and courteous – approach areas of known or suspected marine mammal activity with extreme caution. +Look in all directions before planning your approach or departure.
Avoid approaching closer than 100 meters to any whale.
+Stop immediately and allow the whales to pass if you are unexpectedly within 100 meters.
+Avoid approaching whales from the front or from behind. Always approach and depart whales from the side, moving in a direction parallel to the direction of the whales.
+Keep clear of the whales’ path and avoid positioning within the 400 meter area in the path of the whales.
+Limit viewing time to a recommended maximum of 30 minutes and do not swim with or feed whales.

Porpoises and Dolphins
Observe all guidelines for watching whales.
+Do not drive or kayak through groups of porpoises or dolphins.
+Reduce speed gradually and avoid sudden course changes if dolphins or porpoises approach.

Seals, Sea Lions and Birds on Land
+Avoid approaching closer than 100 meters to any marine mammals or birds.
+Slow down and reduce your wake/wash and noise levels.
+Pay attention and back away at the first sign of disturbance or agitation.
+Be cautious and quiet when around haul-outs and bird colonies, especially during breeding, nesting and pupping seasons (generally May to September).
+Do not swim with or feed any marine mammals or birds.

But most of all, take a deep breath of fresh sea air, paddle hard and have some fun!!!!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Southern Residents Leave and Return in the Same Day!

So, with the end of the Memorial Day weekend upon the San Juan Islands, we were greeted with the glum news that J Pod had decided to head west Monday morning. The news had them heading out the San Juan Channel off the shore of Victoria, BC. So, we planned a picnic down at the beach- lots of fun was had by one and all! However, by nightfall, the news as better- J Pod had turned and were heading east back towards San Juan Island! One of my good friends, Jeanne Hyde writes about listening to them on the hydrophones as she heads off to sleep- read more here!

Whale of A 'Purpose': Whale Tango!"

On another note, I want to send out a shout to one incredibly talented composer named Alex Shapiro who lives on San Juan Island. We met a while ago on MySpace, but today I found her blog!!! Wow!!!

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend in The San Juan Islands

Some days it's all about appreciating what island life has to offer. We spent the afternoon down at the beach with our black lab Bogey- doing some tide pooling, a little swimming and having alot of fun! While J Pod was right outside of this little shore area, blowing and cavorting their day away on the west side, we just shared some "family time!" We did get to see Slick and her family from the shore, so all in all, another great day in the Islands- and add to that we finally reached 70 degrees and smiles were had by one and all.

The tide was quite low Saturday and lots of sea life could be found in all the nooks and crannies- crabs, star fish and plenty of hermit crabs and snails.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Custom Postage & Gifts Featuring Friday Harbor Images

Buy Custom Postage at Zazzle!

Check out a cool site that features everything from wildlife photography to beautiful watercolors! is an veritable feast for your eyes- you can design your own or customize products already available online! You can chose from custom stamps to personalized tee's- and just about everything in between! I have featured Friday Harbor on one of the sites (feel free to visit by clicking the heading above)!Some examples of items are below- this site is just too fun! Want something customized for a special occasion? Send me an e-mail and we'll get started today!

Stop In Today at Zazzle

More Sports Gear Here at Zazzle

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

J Pod in The San Juan Islands!

Southern Resident Community Update!

Today we spent the entire day watching J pod cavort on the west side of San Juan Island. Sometimes far from shore and sometimes so near you could touch them- here's a shot from Lime Kiln lighthouse (a perfect example of having the wrong zoom lens on during a close pass to shore)!!!

The pass began approximately 9:00am with the whales headed close to shore from Pile Point towards Hannah Heights. Once they approached the Heights, we were able to see that the leaders were Slick and her family! That being said --within minutes they turned and headed south!!! Later in the day, we were able to watch them pass Lime Kiln, frolicking and providing us with alot of shore based whale watching opportunities!

And the day ended down at the beach watching the graceful antics of local harlequin ducks...can you say...LIFE IS GOOD? Well, it certainly is!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fox Pups on San Juan Island

Pupping Season is Upon Us!

We are very fortunate to have a diverse and varied animal population on San Juan Island that is supported by a community appreciation and respect for nature and her wonders. One of the populous creatures you will find on the islands are fox- a member of the dog family. On the island, there are several color variations of the red fox, including red, silver, and cross, as well as combinations of all three. We've seen them feast on birds, field mice and rabbits (especially down at American Camp- where it is always fun to watch them hunt the rabbit dens at sunset)- but they will also eat raccoons and ducks! Plants make up another portion of their diet- and the pups are often seen munching on the grasses around their culvert dens!

Everywhere you turn this month and well into the summer you will find frolicking fox pups in roadside culverts and grass embankments. So, if you're on the island, please take heed and keep them in mind!!!

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Friday, May 9, 2008

The Southern Residents Return!

This morning as I arrived home from a grueling workout- something caught my eye offshore in the water.  I hastily made my way into the driveway and ran upstairs to the telescope and found...a whale!!!  As I am trying to figure out what type of whale, one of my dear friends (a whale watch operator) happened to call. I excitedly told him I had found a whale- and sure enough- within a few minutes I could tell it was an the question this a lone transient or the first of a pod of residents!!!  

Sure enough, J pod has returned!!! As a watched, I began to revel in the open saddle patches which could only mean resident whales- and then sure enough, I get a quick view of Keet in my finder and soon thereafter, family members too!

But more importantly, this just in!!!

Citizens File Petition to Place County in GMA Invalidity
posted 05/09/2008
PRESS RELEASE: On May 7, 2008 citizens filed a petition with the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board seeking to have a finding of invalidity against San Juan County for noncompliance with the Growth Management Act concerning sewer service in Eastsound on Orcas Island. The named petitioner is Stephen F. Ludwig, an Orcas resident, and the petition filing is signed by Dorothy Austin.

A finding of invalidity would mean the county would be prohibited from issuing building permits, at a minimum within the Eastsound Urban Growth Area. The petition alleges that the county has allowed urban development in Eastsound without completing a plan to ensure protection of public health and specifically failing to successfully negotiate an agreement with Eastsound Sewer and Water District to guarantee sewer service in the Eastsound UGA.

"The County recognizes the importance of adequate sewer service in the Eastsound UGA and has worked earnestly to achieve this and comply with the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board orders," said Ron Henrickson, Director of Community Development & Planning for San Juan County. "This has been a difficult process, because – as the petitioners noted – sewer service is provided by an independent public utility."

In negotiations with the County last year, ESWD committed to provide a sewer plan by March 30, 2008. As of the date of the petition the County had not received the plan, but the Utility has assured San Juan County that the document will be delivered within the next few days. Howie Rosenfeld, Chair of the San Juan County Council said, "An order of invalidity would have far-reaching economic and personal impacts on Eastsound and the County as a whole. The County is committed to doing everything within our purview to address the concerns of the Hearings Board and the sentiments expressed by the petitioners."

Henrickson said that the County will file a response to the petition within several days of receiving the promised document from the ESWD. "If the plan is satisfactory, we would anticipate that the Hearings Board will allow us enough additional time to incorporate the sewer plan into County's Comprehensive Plan, which should bring us into compliance relative to this item," he said. Rosenfeld added, "GMA compliance should be of concern to all citizens and the Council considers it one of the county's top priorities."

A copy of the petition is available at

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Friday Harbor May 2008

Friday Harbor in spring has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Well, at least to me...smiles. Flowers are flowering, birds are mating and the first fox pups are arriving. Just this week baby foxes were spotted on West Side Road- and there are finally signs up to remind motorists to SLOW DOWN! Last year we spent a week trying to rescue two of the pups who had been hit by speeding cars- ti was hard to watch but they were eventually captured and completely rehabilitated by Wolf Hollow. To follow the rehab efforts on the island, be sure to visit their

Speaking of foxes, this was a picture I captured of their mom last year!

And the birds...we have eagles en masse this month as well as quail who have just recently returned to the island. Below are some of the birds you'll pretty much see most of the year on the island.

Birds of the San Juan Islands Collage print

Birds of the San Juan Islands Collage


As a follow up we did have the chance to eat at COHO and it was definitely well worth the wait. The food is divine- the salmon is to die for and the duck salad is unrivaled. AM & Dave certainly have their hands full- but the ambiance was fantastic and the menu perfect! Check it out here!

I am back in town and will be adding frequently- April was a wild and crazy month! News today is that there are whales headed North of the island through Active Pass- no one yet knows who they are- but could this be J Pod who is "overdue?" Detail to follow! Sandy Buckley