once I got to friday harbor, I had only one thing on my mind:  whales.  I went to the san juans with the express intent of seeing whales.  this was our boat.  captain ivan was our guide, and our trip was pretty amazing.  I LOVE riding in boats, in general, and riding in a zodiac was not a letdown.  it went so fast! and it was so fun to ride in.  honestly, just riding in the boat would have been worth the trip for me.  but there was so much more!  whales!  WHALES!  we saw lots of whales.  LOTS of whales.  whales swimming, whales jumping out of the water, and apparently WAY more whales than they usually see.  it was pretty cute to see captain ivan and our guide katie get SO. EXCITED! every time we saw a whale, even though they’ve each been doing this for years and years.  did you know orcas have belly buttons?  this is fascinating to me.  and it was crazy to me that the guides can identify the whales just by seeing their dorsal fins for like half a second.  some of the other people on the boat with me were apparently more experienced, and could tell if they were male or female.  I was pretty clueless.  whatev.  I had my phone with me in my weather suit, and I took some pictures, but you couldn’t really see anything in them, so I gave up and just watched with my eyes, and took everything in.  it was pretty incredible.  we saw a lot of harbor seals too, and sea lions (although the sea lions were not nearly as big and scary as the ones in kodiak).  we also went past an island with a very interesting history.  so apparently these brothers bought it in the 70s with the intent of making it a wildlife refuge, with lots of crazy animals from all over the world.  but THEN, walter cronkite did a 60 minutes expose that supposedly gave the impression that they were just keeping wild animals in cages just to let them out so people could shoot them.  which according to our guides was not entirely accurate.  but the damage was done and they had to shut down.  isn’t that fascinating?  anyway.  apparently some of the exotic animals are still around on the island, and we saw these crazy sheep from spain with big curly horns.  we also saw a few bald eagles at different points, including a baby one in a nest.  we also did cross the border into canada at some point, so I guess I did do some international traveling this summer after all.  jk.  but seriously.  this was another top life experience.  whales are awesome, riding in fast boats is awesome, wildlife is awesome, and beautiful scenery is awesome too.