My cousin Doug told me that San Juan Island was one of their favorite places, and after our time there I would have to agree. A very pleasant place and very pleasant people. We stayed in Friday Harbor, the one town on the island, but we rented a car for 24 hours and managed to see most of the island. It is served by ferries and there are complicated schedules between the islands. At least they seemed complicated to us! We were surprised how much there was to see on an island where we drove from one end to the other in half an hour!
But the most interesting thing we learned was about the Pig Crisis of 1859. During the settling of the San Juan Islands in the 1850’s both the British and the Americans claimed ownership. This group of islands lies right in the middle of Puget Sound. Today the ferries swirl around all sides of the island grouping, and its importance was apparent as the area was settled. When a pig wandered from the American camp into the British camp several miles down the way it was shot and killed. This incident precipitated an international incident with both sides sending small groups of troops to defend their claims. But instead of starting a war, both sides agreed to arbitration and asked the King of Germany to decide the matter. He deliberated for a year, then decided it should become American territory, and the British decamped, with the only casualty of this “war” being the pig!! Is there a modern-day lesson here?