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Farewell, Friday Harbor (San Juan Islands, Day 3)

Last Updated on August 3, 2023

Mermaid sign on Friday Harbor's main drag — San Juan Islands, Washington State
A mermaid sign on greets visitors to Friday Harbor.

Sunday morning in Friday Harbor is about as laidback as any other day in the sleepy burg, with few of the shops shuttering for the day in the hopes that weekend tourists will bring along more business. Since checkout was 11AM, I dragged my new “no-weight” (yeah, right) suitcase down Spring Street then over to First, where I finally made it to the Whale Museum, which, unlike other museums with a form of “whale” in their name, actually promotes the conservation of the mammals, not the commercial whaling industry. The museum itself is small, befitting its island location, but is packed with lots of eco-friendly facts and specific information on the pods that roam the Salish Sea, which I learned to call this pocket of the Puget Sound.

I spent roughly an hour wandering the museum and taking in bits of info about individuals in the pods, then strolled over to Pelindaba Lavender, where I’d spent my first morning with Robin. With me I lugged my suitcase, which had weighed just over 20 pounds before I boarded the seaplane at Lake Union, but was now a tad heavier that I had an autographed copy of Patricia Schultz’s best-selling and oft-copied 1,000 Places to See in the U.S.A. & Canada Before You Die, which Robin had gotten for me the night before when the author made an appearance at a Spring Street bookstore. The San Juans, of course, made it into Schultz’s book, and the whole lot of her vetted places made for quite a heavy tome. I wondered if my suitcase would pass the test on the return flight.

A Victorian home in Friday Harbor
A Victorian home in Friday Harbor

At Pelindaba, I purchased some lavender pepper — bringing the number of varieties of pepper in my kitchen up to seven (lemon, cayenne, white, black, red pepper flakes, chipotle, and my newbie) and ordered the same delicious flaky mushroom pie and ginger soda I’d enjoyed when I first landed. Then it was off to the docks to await my flight. I watched as a family who had chartered a plane to themselves tried to unload their gangly, lop-eared mutt onto to the dock, then waited another 45 minutes before my plane arrived. (I was still in denial that I could arrive just a quarter-hour before I was to leave and had left plenty of buffer time, during which I caught up in my journal.)

Pelindaba Lavender Farm, San Juan Islands
The heavenly scented lavender fields at Pelindaba seem to stretch as far as the eye can see.

All too soon I was back in the air, soaring over small islets and then landing next to the houseboats on Lake Union. When I landed, I realized I’d forgotten to heed the advice of the proprietor of the metaphysical shop where I’d purchased a replacement purse: “Take a rock with you when you leave. It’ll call to you to return to the islands.” I’d forgotten to pocket a rock, but as I scrolled through my camera at the photos I’d taken, I knew it wouldn’t be necessary.

Day 1: Eagles, Lavender & Lighthouses
Day 2: Whale Watching & Kayaking
Day 3: Farewell, Friday Harbor

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