June 5, 2009

After a few days of unusually hot weather for the San Juan Islands (I heard up to 85 or maybe even 90 degrees (Fahrenheit)!) it finally cooled down (at least a little) and turned out to be a beautiful day to cruise the islands. We departed San Juan Island with no reports of any pods from the Southern Resident Community, or any Transient orcas, either, around the area. But not to worry, because of our cold nutrient rich waters around the islands are abound with wildlife, so there is no shortage of wildlife viewing aboard the MV Sea Lion.

We headed north, stoppping to gaze in awe at the white caps and upwelling zones created by the flooding tide to the east of the Catcus Islands. As we cruised pass the Catcus Islands, which lie to the north of Speiden Island (these three islands are all privately owned) we spotted one adult bald eagle sitting atop a tree, and a junvenile and adult bald ealge both standing on the ground. After spending time viewing these large birds (3 feet tall, 6-8 foot wing span) we headed north to Turn Point off of Stuart Island. Turn Point Lighthouse, on Turn Point, is a place were large ships must make a sharp turn (hence the point's name). It is also part of a 69.3 acre state park on Stuart Island.

While at Turn Point we first spotted Harbor porpoises darting this way and that, likely fishing. After spending a bit of time viewing this more-elusive porpoise, we had the opportunity to see some fast travelling (up to 35 mph!) and more boat-friendly Dall's porpoise travel alongside our boat and in our vicinity.

It was a gorgeous day out on the water. Ahh summer in the islands.
Ashley, Naturalist

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