Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

Friday Harbor Marina

Washington State Ferry Passes By Wilderness Adventurer in Friday Harbor

As the Wilderness Adventurer of Un-Cruise Adventures approached Friday Harbor on San Juan Island we saw more activity on the little walkway that goes past the window to our room than we had all cruise long – all crew people. They tied two big bumpers to the railing there so we knew the dock would be on our side of the boat.

Friday Harbor, Washington

sea plane docked at the Friday Harbor Marina

Docking on the outer edge of a marina where they have space for bigger boats really makes a small cruise ship look big in comparison to the rest of the boats. It’s pretty interesting just to walk around the docks and look at some of the other boats tied up there. The dock we tied to even had a sea plane on one end.

at the dock on San Juan Island

old historic boat

One old wooden boat had a sign out in front of it with its history. Built in the 1920’s, it started as a small-ship cruise boat around Alaska, and they listed many famous people who had cruised on it way back when. It spent some time as a private vessel, did military work through world war 2, moved to California as a cruise ship for awhile, and now is back to cruising in Alaska.

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

floating Bed & Breakfast

Another boat there had a sign out saying it is a B&B. The marina is very close to the ferry dock, so people could walk on the ferry and then walk over to the marina to spend the night there. A lot of boats said they were from places like Alaska or California, but some did claim Friday Harbor as their home base.

buildings in Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor

We walked up a tall stairway into town, though had we turned toward the ferry dock we could have walked alongside the water and got into the main part of town without the stairs. Local restaurants and small shops line the main street of the town, along with little art galleries. From the area the stairs lead to, the sidewalk toward town passes by several viewpoints to see the bay, marina, and ferry dock. Also the ferry when one comes in. We saw a small one which is probably for inter-island traffic and a big one that likely goes to Anacortes and possibly Sidney B.C. (Canada).

island hopper ferry

this small private ferry travels to islands not served by the state ferry

Friday Harbor sits on San Juan Island, the second largest island in the San Juan island chain. It is one of the few islands where the state ferry stops on a run from Anacortes on the mainland which also includes Lopez, Orcas, and Shaw islands and a one time daily trip to Canada stopping at Sidney BC on Vancouver Island. Technically Anacortes is on Fidalgo Island, but it is separated from the mainland only by a channel easily crossed on a bridge.

painting a ship

crew of the Wilderness Adventurer touching up the paint

San Juan Island is most famous for the Pig War. In the mid 1800’s ownership of the San Juan Islands was in dispute between the USA and England. When an American living on the island shot and killed a pig owned by a British citizen it escalated tensions between the two sides, with both ramping up troops. Eventually the issue was resolved peacefully with the pig remaining the only casualty. It took 12 more years to determine ownership of the San Juans to the USA. San Juan Island still has English Camp and American Camp, both now national parks. There’s even a Pig War beer named after the confrontation, but it is made by an Oregon brewery.

Copyright My Cruise Stories 2015

About LBcruiseshipblogger

MyCruiseStories blog tells stories about adventures in cruising on ships big and small. Things to do onboard and in port. Anything connected to cruising. Also food, travel, recipes, towel animals, and the occasional random blog.
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6 Responses to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    Who would have thought the role of a pig in a conflict that led to a beer.

  2. gwynnrogers says:

    Hey… we have the Slippery Pig Brewery down here in Poulsbo if you want beer. I have heard their beer is rather different though as I think he uses vegetables and fruits. I’m not a beer fan so I don’t have any first-hand experience for you.

    Your pictures of the boats are gorgeous. I LOVE the old wood boats! I haven’t been to the San Juans in ages. Friday Harbor is a distinctive little town. Have fun cruising! Do you have trouble walking on dry land after spending so much time out on the water? When I went sailing for a week up around the San Juans while everyone but the Captain and I were throwing up… I cleaned up the galley. However, when we came home, the week after, while at work I would suddenly start to “roll” and I’d have to grab for a filing cabinet or post. I had the other realtors laughing their heads off at me! It was a crazy experience.

    • I don’t drink, but there were a lot of beer fans on that cruise. I wonder if the beer made from fruit and veggies is any healthier than normal beer.

      I like to look at the old wooden boats, but wouldn’t want to own one due to the maintenance required.

      I haven’t had any motion problems on the cruise ships, but then they don’t rock as much as a smaller boat. I did have motion sickness issues as a child with both cars and boats so I bring dramamine, but haven’t needed it even when the seas have been a bit rough. After a long cruise I do sometimes miss the boat rocking me to sleep at night.

  3. chris says:

    I once worked on a platform that was leaning after a storm. The decks were about 20 degrees off level. After spending a long day on the platform when I got back on the boat everything felt like it was crooked for the rest of the night.

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