Okay, I am thinking, the place is off-the-charts beautiful, and that is reason alone to push it high up my cruising bucket list. You add in that there is real navigation to do, so you exercise that sailor brain. The weather can range from sunny and calm to wet and windy, so you'll never get bored. And then there is this: Spend enough time sailing the San Juan Islands and you will come across killer whales. There are three resident pods in the area, numbering almost 90 orcas, and this is their cruising ground, too. They spend their days traveling the shorelines, hunting and eating salmon, or simply socializing and messing around. Often that means there is a killer whale--which is a stunning animal up close--suddenly huffing or breaching nearby. You throttle down, let your boat drift, and sink into the wonder of watching the ocean's most intelligent and evolved predator go about its day. I've never experienced anything like it, and there is no cruising ground in the world where you are more likely to become part of their world.