July 25, 2019

3"H's": Humpbacks, Harbor Seals and Harbor Porpoise!!

Laura C. | M/V Sea Lion | 7/25/2019 | 1:30pm

Today was a beautiful day on the water!  Our vessel Sea Lion headed far north with morning reports of some cool whale sightings!  After a picturesque journey surrounded by Canadian mountain views and Mount Baker in the distance, we saw a dorsal fin way out in the distance.  It was the fin of a humpback whale moving sleekly through the glass calm water! 

We stayed with this humpback for quite a while and watched her take 4-5-minute dives and bring her tail or fluke into the air as she prepared for a dive.  It did not take us long to recognize this beautiful animal as Heather, a well-known female within this population!  The underside of Heather’s fluke is 75% black with white towards the top, highlighting her trailing edge.  The trailing edge is the rough tip of the humpback whale’s tail and each edge is unique to the individual.  Sometimes researchers can identify a whale by just this edge alone, especially when the only photo one can get is in the sun’s glare!  Lucky for us today the backdrop was beautiful to highlight Heather’s unique tail as she raised it out of the water for all to see.  As we started to leave the scene Heather raised her tail way up into the sky and waved it in the air!!  This is the ultimate goodbye from a humpback whale!

Our vessel made its way through Georgeson Pass and we found a bunch of harbor seals resting along the rocks!  They were absolutely adorable today and were strutting their varied coat colorations with style.  We almost missed a bald eagle that was resting right on top of the rocks!  This eagle seemed to be monitoring the seal population from above in a surveyor-like fashion.  As we continued west the passengers all had a blast pointing out all the harbor porpoises in view!  It was a huge day of harbor porpoise and throughout the entire trip I personally saw at least 30 in total!  And who knows how many more were actually present!?  Researchers say for every single porpoise one sees on the water there is at least 3-4 more in the area.  Now that is awesome wildlife!