Voices Of The Islands Chief Mate Donna

"When I see people get on the ferry, they let their troubles melt away." 

Getting to the San Juan Islands is an adventure all its own. Donna is a chief mate for the Washington State Ferries and guides visitors and locals alike through the 172 islands. “I love being able to take people to the San Juan Islands. The scenery is amazing.”

During her 14 years working for the ferry system, Donna has seen a variety of wildlife from the deck. Deer swim between islands and graze on passing cliffs, whales, porpoises and harbor seals duck in and out of the waves, and eagles circle the sky, looking for their next meal. Passengers can catch a glimpse of this wildlife before reaching one of the three main stops.  

Lopez Island is the first stop. It’s home to farmers, nature lovers, artisans and musicians.” 

Lopez is a biker’s paradise. Although not flat, Lopez offers some of the islands’ easier cycling terrain, and leads visitors to the charming Lopez Village, where delicious food, local art and music are abundant. Drivers wave in passing and rolling farmland meets mountain-view shores on this quiet, “friendly island.”

Orcas Island is another stop. The vistas from Mt. Constitution are spectacular.”

Orcas, loved for its winding hikes and bustling villages, is considered the “gem of the San Juans.” Moran State Park offers 5,252 acres to explore by foot, kayak, bike or horseback and boasts stunning views of the islands from atop the 2,398 ft. tall Mt. Constitution.

“The final stop is San Juan Island. When you dock at Friday Harbor you can walk right into town.”

The “gateway to the San Juans,” Friday Harbor welcomes ferry passengers to explore the history, wildlife and culture of the most populated island in the archipelago. With farmland and forests, local beverages and bites, recreational sports and spas, San Juan Island is an escape from the ordinary. 

“Every island is unique and each one kind of has its own culture. I feel very lucky to share my home with people.”

About The Islands

Discover what makes each island unique and make a plan for your next visit!

Learn More
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Contact Us:
San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau
1-888-468-3701 | (360) 378-9551
P.O. Box 1330, Friday Harbor, Washington 98250
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