June 12, 2021

Baleen Madness; Gray Whale Flukes South towards a Stinky Minke Whale

Gray Whale in San Juan Channel

Olivia | M/V Osprey | June 12th, 2021 | 12:30pm

Every day is a complete surprise on where we travel around the Salish Sea depending on where whales and wildlife are being spotted. That means, often we head off in one direction and end up turning a different way. Today was one of those days where we initially pointed south down San Juan Channel and immediately got a report of a Gray Whale picked up just north of Friday Harbor. By the time we got on scene, the baleen whale was on the outer edge of the harbor!

We were able to watch this whale slowly travel south averaging 1.5-minute dive times and fluking with every dive! This was an incredible opportunity silhouetted by the green backdrop of the tall pines on San Juan Island.

After spending time chatting about this benthic feeding mysticete, we continued in our original direction heading south where we stopped at Whale Rocks to view belching Steller’s Sea Lions and snoozing Harbor Seals. Continuing south, we were able to witness ANOTHER baleen whale! There was a Minke Whale taking advantage of the shallow waters of Salmon Bank to feed on high volumes of school bait fish.

It was a gift scanning the Strait of Juan de Fuca one more time and eventually taking a moment to admire the fluking Gray Whale as it fed around Cattle Point Lighthouse. It was a gift to be able to see two types of whales in addition to heaps of other wildlife in the area today- not to mention so close to home!