Road Scholar 21786

Orcas breach nearby, harbor seals caper in the straits and bald eagles soar overhead as you navigate the pristine waters and narrow passageways of Washington’s San Juan archipelago. During three daylong voyages aboard the Chinook, observe porpoises, whales and seabirds from the deck of the privately chartered vessel as you learn from the knowledgeable local captain and crew. Discover the islands’ unique ecology and geology on shore excursions with a local expert, hear the sounds of 1,972 pipes bellowing from an organ inside a seaside mansion and much more. You’ll dine well as you make your way between islands and enjoy comfortable lodgings in the seaside port of Friday Harbor, the heart of the San Juan Islands.

• Enjoy three days of private study cruises in the San Juan Archipelago aboard the MV Chinook, highlighted by onshore explorations of the lighthouses, historic sites and hidden corners of three islands.
• Experience the history and beauty of San Juan Island with lodgings and museum visits in charming Friday Harbor and an expert-led exploration of historic Roche Harbor.
• Have a picnic on the beach followed by an interpreted hike on the northern island of Sucia, an exclusive jewel accessible only by private vessels.

Activity Notes: Participants should be comfortable with walking up to two miles over the course of a day; walking on dirt paths or uneven surfaces; climbing stairs and standing up to one hour during field trips. Frequent getting on or off of vessel (during sea exploration).

Itinerary Summary: Arrival Seattle 1 night; Chartered vessel from Bellingham to Friday Harbor, 5 nights; Washington State Ferry and chartered coach to Seattle, departure.


Day One: Sunday, Aug 27 - Welcome and Orientation Program
Luckily a late morning flight - upgraded. Catch the StuporShuttle about 9:15. It’s still that long 5-hour flight even with the upgraded seat. At least it is a direct flight.

United UA 2018IAH - Seattle11:40A - 2:20P4:40

Arrive in Seattle and take the Courtesy Hotel Shuttle to check in. Phone: 206-244-6666. Welcome and Program Disorientation. We have a catered Welcome Dinner is in the Conference Dining Room. A Get Acquainted Program follows dinner. Lodging: Radisson Hotel Seattle Airport.

Day Two: Monday, Aug 28 - Coach to Bellingham / South San Juan Islands Cruise / Arrive and Check into Friday Harbor Hotel
There is a breakfast buffet served in hotel. After breakfast we will check out of our Seattle hotel and board a coach which will take us to Bellingham where we meet our vessel, the M/V Chinook, our 72 foot “yacht”. Once we clear Bellingham Bay we will cruise south to explore the southern end of the San Juan archipelago. Keep your eyes on the sights as we cruise past Burrows Island lighthouse, as well as other points of interest such as Iceberg Point, Deadman's Island and Cattle Pass.

Since we will be on the water, a hearty homemade lunch will be served enroute. As we eat, our captain regales us with an interesting and entertaining narration about the history of the islands. The vessel will make its way down and around San Juan Island before finally docking at the port of the town of Friday Harbor. Upon arrival in Friday Harbor we and our luggage will be transferred to Friday Harbor Suites. After check-in, we'll have our first presentation: "View of the San Juan Islands," which offers an insider’s look at contemporary life in the Islands.

On arrival in Friday Harbor, we'll have a Northwest style dinner out at Brickworks. After a busy day on the water, the evening is ours to explore the town of Friday Harbor, or to rest at the hotel. Lodging: Friday Harbor Suites (5 nights)

Day Three: Tuesday, Aug 29 - Cruise to Roche Harbor / Orcas Island / Salmon Hatchery Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
We’ll make a 4-5 block walk to the docks and board the Chinook. We have a full and exciting day ahead of us today. Breakfast this morning is on our boat. As we eat breakfast we will make our way north in the San Juan Channel to our first stop of the day, historic Roche Harbor Resort. Established in 1886, Roche Harbor is home to the classic Hotel de Haro which is still open today and is now listed on the National Historic Register. We have ample time for a good walk around on our own, or join a guided excursion conducted by one of the knowledgeable crew members.

We will re-board the Chinook to start the second leg of our trip, exploring the central San Juan Island. Search for wildlife including Orca and Minke whales as we eat lunch. The vessel will make its way through the San Juan Channel towards Orcas Island and our next destination. We will arrive at the famous Rosario Resort and then travel to the nearby salmon hatchery, where we'll go behind the scenes with the facility biologist and see why this hatchery has become a benchmark for natural rearing methods in the Northwest. We depart Rosario in the late afternoon and we will be treated to an early-evening wine tasting (I’ll skip this) on the cruise back to Friday Harbor while marveling at the evening sunset and unforgettable scenery.

Upon arrival in Friday Harbor, we walk back to the hotel for a late dinner. Due to the late dinner there are no presentations planned this evening. After dinner, our group leader will answer questions for activities that we may wish to take on our Friday afternoon free time. Some activities may require a reservation in advance. I may (or may not – I’ve seen lots) go for the whale watch excursion if it is not TOO expensive.

Day Four: Wednesday, Aug 30 - Cruise to Sucia Island for a Private Island Experience / Sucia Island Hike
(BL-)We'll depart on foot for a 4-5 block walk to the docks and board the Chinook. We have a full and exciting day ahead of us today. Breakfast is again on our boat. While enjoying breakfast on board we will make our way toward the top of the San Juan archipelago. Keep your eyes peeled for Orca whales, bald eagles, harbor seals, Dall's porpoise, Minke whales, sea birds and other magnificent wildlife. Catching a glimpse of these animals in their natural environment is always a treat to behold! Up north lies a unique, horseshoe shaped destination called Sucia Island State Park.

Upon arrival to Sucia we will be treated to a freshly prepared picnic on the beach. After lunch there will be an opportunity to stretch our legs by taking a short hike through the forest or along the shoreline while viewing some of the most stunning shorelines and views that the Northwest has to offer on your exquisite private island adventure. Take in the untamed flora and fauna and keep our eyes open because we may just happen upon some marine fossils on the beaches of Fossil Bay on the Southeast arm of the island. From our unforgettable shore visit on Sucia we will board the Chinook to continue on to the final leg of our voyage, traveling through channels and past islands not yet explored.

After returning to the hotel, we are on our own to try to find something edible to eat. The evening is ours to explore the town of Friday Harbor.

Day Five: Thursday, Aug 31 - San Juan Island Creativity & Art / Island Excursion by Land
This morning’s continental breakfast is at the hotel since we don’t cruise on our “yacht” today – all of our activities today are local tours. The morning activity begins with a presentation showcasing the creative and artistic spirits that are abundant in these islands. Meet a local guest artist! Before lunch, we walk to the San Juan Historical Museum to explore and learn how islanders have adapted to life in the islands over time.

Today’s buffet lunch is unspecified. Then we'll set out by minibus to explore the island. We'll start with a visit to San Juan Island National Park. Then, we're off to the West side of the island for a visit Lime Kiln State Park. Limekiln Park offers great wildlife viewing from shore, as well as a lighthouse that currently serves as an Orca research station. Learn about Orca acoustics and how research interpret Orca dialects from the stations underwater hydrophone.

After tonight’s buffet dinner, we have another presentation on the history of fishing in the region and its impact on marine and human life in the islands.

Day Six: Friday, Sep 1 - San Juan Island Preservation / Whale Museum / Free Afternoon - to Explore San Juan Island Your Way!
After a continental Breakfast Buffet our morning presentation from San Juan Island Preservation Trust lends insight to preserving the Island's most precious resource-undeveloped land! Afterwards, we'll walk to the Whale Museum for a guided experience at this unique museum. The Whale Museum is the nation's first museum dedicated to whale's living in the wild.

Lunch is buffet-style and features a soup of the day. Then take the afternoon to explore San Juan Island our way! Free time options include: riding mopeds, whale watch excursions, or just relaxing. (*Some excursions may require a reservation in advance.) Since we have a microwave in the room, also look for some food (use the refrigerator and microwave) to eat in place of the seafood dinner.

Tonight’s awful buffet dinner features baked salmon/fish, or maybe find somewhere in town to eat early in our long free afternoon. Following dinner, we'll have a quick wrap up and review departure details for everyone.

Day Seven: Saturday, Sep 2 – Farewell and Departure
(B) After our Breakfast Buffet, we depart Friday Harbor, San Juan Island via the Washington State ferry and chartered motor coach. Program concludes in Seattle with drop off at SeaTac International airport (at approximately 12:30pm). We recommend scheduling outbound flights after 2:30 pm. United changed the original 4PM return and now the alternative is at 10:55PM which is 8:45 later and that’s too long to sit around the airport. 2 hour time change on the way home.

United UA 280Seattle – IAH2:10P - 8:33P4:23

Now I’ll get home “today” rather than that night-owl flight – maybe about 10PM.

GROUP LEADER: Kevin Culmback. On land and at sea, Kevin’s keen eye for nature has led him to pursue a career as a naturalist and photographer. He grew up near Seattle, acquiring a love of the outdoors that moved him to travel for two decades and explore other great meeting places of land and water from Florida to Hawaii. With Road Scholar, Kevin welcomes the opportunity to share his expertise about his home region, the Pacific Northwest, with lifelong learners.

HOTEL: Friday Harbor Suites, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island (5 nights), 680 Spring Street, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, phone: 800-752-5752, www.fridayharborsuites.com Friday Harbor Suites is an all-suites facility with spacious one bedroom rooms, each with a queen bed. All suites include a gas fireplace in every room (will we need it?), and a great in town location accessible to museums, restaurants and services. Some suites have two queen beds (one in the bedroom and horrors, one in the living room). Room amenities: Each suite features a gas fireplace, kitchenette with refrigerator, microwave (for munchies and that dinner on our own), private bath, duvet comforter, 32" flat screen TV, free wireless internet, and a private patio or balcony. Facility amenities: Courtesy shuttle service from the ferry and airport, business center with high speed internet, free WiFi in every room. Elevator: Yes