Journey to San Juan Islands: Day 2 (Part 2): “Front of the line” – When the Light breaks through

When Life takes you on an adventure, it’s best to enjoy the crazy, amazing, beautiful ride.


So, we did get off on Orcas Island, and did do the “bait and switch” (being officially guided into the front of the line), … and we headed back onto ferry headed for Friday Harbor!

And at 7:54 am, we rolled off onto our destination: Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands, WA.

Of course, I didn’t know where the heck we were supposed to go exactly (Had forgotten to preplan that small detail!), but Terry’s eagle eyes saw the Kayak Tour shop from the car just kitty corner and up the street from us and we pulled up front row. Not only that we found coffee and amazing to go egg sandwich at a shop right next door (Hallelujah!)… and the sun was breaking through the cloud cover!

Though we didn’t find our guide quite yet (and called him a couple times…okay 3 times), we DID find the couple who would be our fellow paddler/campers for the trip. They pulled up along side us and we had peace in numbers. (They had called him twice.) After swapping a few travel- glitch stories, Andy –  our patient, kind, faithful, knowledgeable leader for the next three days- appeared from around the shop – and all was right with the world.

Then, just when it couldn’t get any better, as we started to get our belongings in order to transport across the island, the “cooler-turned-carry-on” popped up its disguised head in our trunk! (Another long story of which I will spare you the details… let’s just say Terry (for very good reasons that deal with my brother) thought she knew what it looked like, hence, thinking it wasn’t there. I’d say that’s when the tide of the “everyday rush and the wee-bit-rough beginning” turned.

… Did I mention we got breakfast AND the sun popped out?

We were officially on “island time” from then on.


Now, I promise I will let the pictures do (most) of the talking. (Reader beware: I promised Terry I would include ALL of my pictures!… consider yourself warned.) 


After being “vanned” over the island from Friday Harbor, we arrived at San Juan County Park and took some time to transfer our personal items into dry bags, trek it all down to the beach and load 3 days of our lives onto our long, streamlined tandem sea kayaks…

as the cooling cloud cover rolled in! (PERFECT paddling weather!)

Terry (birthday girl), me, Amy and Charles (newyweds!) and Andy-the kayak beast the held us all together!


Officially, we were on our way

About two hours later…

“Now we’ll go through Mosquito Pass and around the corner to Snug Harbor”

… Did I really NOT eat that whole egg sandwich, ’cause I thought I wouldn’t be hungry for lunch?

“See in the distant? That point? We’ll be going just around there…”

…is it break time soon, Andy?

“Now see that pass opening? When we round that we are going to hit a current coming in, so we’ll have to make sure we keep paddling with some determination… Not like trying to kill yourself or anything, but you know, just keep going… ”

Okay, Andy, but dear sweet Jesus, are we resting any century soon?

And THEN (finally) Posey Island! We peeled ourselves and our lower backs out of the the yak – Terry iced hers in the ocean – and we had turkey sandwiches on local ciabatta rolls, fresh local veggies (including homemade pesto), whole mozzarella, and M&M gorp.

Yum! All is right with the world again.

Okay, so I want to say right here, as a lesson re-learned “disclaimer.” … I’m a nature girl. I love the wilderness, and feeling like I’m in a piece of the world not too often touched by human hands or ‘things’. At first, seeing houses on the shoreline and mooring yachts, I was a bit disappointed because of what my vision had been of this trip.

… But honestly, I’m seriously going to complain even a little about being on the water, in beautiful land, with my tied-to-my-heart sister and friend, with an amazing guide and the sweetest newlyweds ever, (who’s life story we now belong)…. ???  Not a chance. Life is too short and too much of a gift for ANY niggle of a complaint!…

Put on a new set of glasses – new perspective – and beauty is everywhere

… even where you least expect it.


So, with needed fat cells refueled (aka 60 yr + arm flab :)), we were ready to cross the channel/straight/whatever for our next 5 miles!

I might add at this point, I was a little put off by Andy checking his phone so much. Seriously??Enter my ignorance: Andy’s was in constant check/alert for tides and currents! Consequently,  in his due diligence, we traveled much further up from our crossing mark, so we could ride the current down to our destination instead of fighting it while we crossed. (Thank you, Andy!)

…And we found this beauty on the other side…

Wanna buy an island? This is Spiedon and it’s only selling for 58 million. Bought originally in 1969 to be a wild game hunting destination, “Safari” Island it never quite “caught on” (some kind of pun there, I think). They brought in over 2,100 game birds and hundreds of rare animals. The venture ended in 1996 because of environmental concerns and the risk of stray bullets.” However, some of the game still remain… like Mouflon sheep, the European fallow deer and the Japanese sika deer.

Then rounding the corner we entered our targeted mark:  Reid Harbor on Stuart Island.

And after 10 long miles, we made it to our destination… except not.

… because of the two ‘first come first serve’ group camps  – even in Covid time, or maybe because of Covid – they were all taken. (Well…. except for the VERY large campsite -that usually holds up to 14 campers- that was being “hoarded” by a two tent only family, who wouldn’t share space despite Andy’s calm second-time request and our predicament.)

Andy had never not been able to get a camp there before. Apparently even in Covid times (or maybe because of Covid times) they were chock full! But honestly, thank God!…because after a LOT of blood, sweat and hoofin’ a long trek back and forth and up and down, our fearless leader found us a (MUCH preferred) campsite: alone, perched on a bluff, beautiful views, with a mosquito-chasing breeze and our own “private” dock… not to mention a gateway to another beautiful cove.

While Andy sweated along this beautiful trail


… we rested our flab-tightened arms!

and waited to be lead to this,

…to unload and hoof our belongings up to this

… then back to stash our kayaks on the beach in bushes up  from the “flooding” … (the islanders word for high tide because it doesn’t quite act the same way in among the islands)

and then (finally) we were lead to what would be our place of rest (but this time we hiked there!) …following Andy’s recent blood and sweat-marked trail)


and you KNOW tiredness had set in when I forget my camera on such a beautiful trail! (Luckily Terry did not! and was able to capture Reid, our harbor eagle, looking all cool and unruffled as we gawked in all our tourist glory.

…and our trek lead to this!

Home. Perfection.

Every last detail, taken care of before the beginning of time.

Gotta love God’s last minute change of plans.

(I pretty sure we were moved to the front of the line again!)

So as we settled in, and set up camp. Andy set up our first amazing dinner meal. We were both too hungry, and content, to even have the thought of taking picture run through our mind. But Holy mole, guacamole! It started off with chips and a bowl chock full of guacamole. Then it was followed by beef tacos filled with with sweet potatoes, corn, onions, black beans…topped with a pineapple, jalapeno, cilantro salsa.- (and rounded out with a side of Washington wine.)

oh. my. gosh. ………. heaven in a tortilla

And, still without cameras,  we both let our hearts document the fun and futile attempts (of some very experienced fire-makers I might add) being stumped by Stuart Island’s wet wood,… that is, until Andy came to the rescue – bringing out his griddle –  and fanned his way into camp fire heaven.

But I couldn’t forget to capture this sweet memory of a sweet sister and best of friend whose birthday I will always celebrate with thankfulness.

Man, my brother hit the jackpot!






and we hit the hay!

One thought on “Journey to San Juan Islands: Day 2 (Part 2): “Front of the line” – When the Light breaks through

  1. I love your “Boat and Switch” story…. AND the soft sided carry-on hiding in trunk story, which Bro had to be responsible for, right??….(He probably gave her the different, more inferior soft sided cooler of a different color than what you thought she had to pack, right)?….. God did provide the BEST spot to camp! YAY!

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