June 11, 2010

A Pair of Grins

It was an awesome day in the San Juan Islands today and we had a superb trip.  The orcas disappeared into the oceanic netherworld some time in the night, so we went off in search of bigger and better intrigues.  After motoring down San Juan Channel, around Goose and Long Islands and Whale Rocks, Capt. Mike took Casey, the guests and me on a whirlwind tour around San Juan Island.  We saw porpoises, eagles and sea birds.  There were beautiful islands, homes and waterways for us to enjoy out in the sun and mild weather as we talked about life and history in the islands.  Since today also marked the 100th birthday of Jacques Yves Cousteau, I let the guests in on the hidden secret of scuba diving in the local waters.  What is the secret?  It is that the San Juan Islands were one of Cousteau's favorite places to dive and depending on who you talk to it is either the best or second best diving in the world.  Second only to the Great Barrier Reef.

After our leisurely cruise through Mosquito Pass we took in Turn Point on Stuart Island rather than going straight over to Spieden Island.  Capt. Mike likes the cormorants that nest on the cliffs under Turn Point Lighthouse and I just like birds in general.  While we were there looking for babies in the nests I scanned the cliffs trying to search out a peregrine falcon that I saw there once.  Well, I found his perch, but what I thought had been sticks or roots jutting out of a crevice was actually a nest!  And there were now two peregrine chicks standing at the edge looking out at us.  What a wild surprise!  Peregrines spent many years on the Endangered Species List due to the effects of DDT, but they have now been delisted in most parts of their range.  They certainly seem to be doing well in the San Juan Islands since I have seen them several times now.

So, from all of us at San Juan Safaris, to all of you winged wonders out there, thank you and we will...

See You In The Islands!

~Tristen, Naturalist