H is for Henry Island

An island shaped like an H, settled by an early pioneer, Henry Perkins, and named Henry Island in 1841 by explorer, Charles Wilkes, for his late nephew, Henry Wilkes, killed in a skirmish in Fiji? Believe it!


(Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Ecology)

The horizontal beach isthmus in the photo above forms the crossbar of the letter H. In 2007, the San Juan Preservation Trust acquired this unique property, preserving and protecting Mosquito Pass Preserve from development for future generations. Public access is from a beach leading to trails on the east side of Henry Island, but beware of boat wakes and tidal currents in Mosquito Pass.

(Photo courtesy of The San Juan Preservation Trust)

Situated off the northwest corner of San Juan Island, Henry Island is a private island and home to a handful of permanent residents. We have a friend who owns a cabin and it takes planning to visit his second home. He drives a couple of hours from the Seattle area to the Washington State ferry terminal in Anacortes on the mainland, where he waits in line for the next ferry to arrive. If he made reservations, he may wait less than an hour. After an hour and a half ferry ride to Friday Harbor, he drives another half hour to Roche Harbor. Here, he parks his vehicle for a fee and transfers his gear to a runabout he moors at the marina. It takes 10-15 minutes to zip across the bay, hopefully in good weather, to reach the Henry Island dock. I believe he uses a golf cart, shared by the residents, to cart his gear to his cabin. And that’s a one way trip!

Deer are abundant on the island, many grazing in the early morning or late evening under the apple trees by the Seattle Yacht Club’s outstation building on Nelson Bay on the north side of the island. Some of them swim between the islands in water temperatures that average 50ºF during the summer months, closer to 40ºF in the winter.

Seals, sea lions, and Orca whales feed offshore on the western side of Henry Island in Haro Strait—one of their favorite spots in the San Juan Islands. Of course, the easiest option to see the whales is to take a Washington State Ferry from Anacortes and visit Lime Kiln State Park on the west side of San Juan Island, a few nautical miles south of Henry Island. Another alternative is to take a whale watch tour boat from Anacortes, Friday Harbor or Roche Harbor. No matter how many times I’ve seen Orcas, they never cease to impress me!

(Photo courtesy of Jim Maya)

“Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all the depths.” (Psalm 148:7, NKJV)

Thank you for reading!

Blessings

Deb

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