San Juan Islands: Day 1



Similar to last year, Inkwell has chosen a topic to focus on throughout the year, and this year, Inkwell decided on the environment and more specifically our impact on it. This led us to the San Juan Islands, a place known for its local Orca population, but also home to an abundance of sea life. The San Juans Islands is a short distance away and the perfect place to learn about how we affect the environment and specifically our oceans. Science Team and Inkwell paired up to learn about the endangered species including their interactions with each other, threats to their survival, and how to help.  

Since the West Coast is home to many Orcas, we felt a particular connection to them and wanted to learn more about their decreasing population. Coming to the islands gave us a chance to focus on our effects on the environment in a local way and see our direct impact. 

Friday Harbor culture

Friday Harbor, San Juan, has a different pace and culture from Tacoma despite them both being in Washington State. A noticeable change when walking around was the pedestrian culture. Most cars yielded to people crossing, regardless of the right of way. There weren’t any signs saying when you can or cannot cross because you almost always can. Another difference was how chatty and open everyone seemed to be. While Inkwell and Science Team walked through Friday Harbor, we were regularly stopped and asked about our trip. The people asking us questions always seemed more than willing to share information about themselves in return.There was also much less restriction on where dogs were allowed. They could be found in most establishments from boutiques to fancy restaurants.


Travel writer and artist Chandler O’Leary, physics and chemistry teacher Mr. Sidman’s wife, gave Inkwell the recommendation to visit the McMillin Mausoleum in Roche Harbor. We all piled into our two Annie Wright vans and drove 20 minutes to the small town. 

As we walked further into the forest, we realised that we were going through a mini graveyard. This creeped quite a few of us out, including myself, yet we kept walking further and further up the hill. We finally came up to a big open gate that framed a pillared monument. It looked like it was straight out of some sort of Halloween movie. In honor of the gothic photoshoots teens like to have here, according to O’Leary, we all decided to have our own. We also made it seem as if we were all part of some cult by singing the Alma Mater at the stone table to creep out the other visitors. 

As the sun was setting, we went down to the little town of Roche Harbor. A place reminiscent of Disneylandbecause of the the buildings and the spectacular view of the sun setting on the water. It was a fun and spooky way to end our first day in Friday Harbor.