November 24, 2019

Dall's Porpoises Bow Riding?! Say What Now?!!!

Laura C. | M/V Sea Lion | 11/24/2019 | 12:00pm

Sunshine radiated throughout the Salish Sea today!  The seas were beautiful, surrounded by crisp clean air that provided miles of visibility.  We headed north in the San Juan Channel, through President’s Channel and past Patos Island into the Strait of Georgia.  Patos Island is home to a bald eagle’s nest, and it was a great first stopping point to larger wildlife, as their nests can weigh up to 1 ton each!  Passengers assisted in a thorough search of charismatic megafauna, like a large gray leviathan or a sea panda, otherwise known as an orca.  After a valiant effort, M/V Sea Lion cruised around East Point, where we were loudly greeted by a bundle of Steller sea lions vocalizing in our presence!  These enormous sea lions were full of energy and excitement today, some swaying their heads back and forth like a band of elephants.  Others swam in the chilly seas waving their flippers up in the air right before a quick dive.  Continuing ahead, we found two bald eagles sitting side-by-side on a small island!  This was a great view of bald eagles today, with a picturesque backdrop of surrounding Canadian islands.

As we headed down Boundary Pass, one of my favorite encounters of the season occurred!  We saw Dall’s porpoises heading our way and as we turned our vessel, they collected around our wake and started bow riding!!  I have never seen porpoises bow riding before!  The water was calm enough so we could all see their beautiful black and white bodies right beneath the water’s surface!  As they came out of the water, white frosted dorsal fins were eagerly captured by clicking cameras and video recordings!  I was so happy everyone was able to appreciate how awesome this species is, and that everyone got great footage!  These Dall’s porpoises hold the number one spot in my book thus far for the most exciting porpoise experience!  On our way back we were pleasantly surprised by some harbor porpoises!  It was neat to compare these two animals because though they are both porpoises, they are very different in shape and appearance.  One of my favorite things about heading out on the water is that anything can happen.  You never know when you are going to have a most memorable wildlife encounter, or with whom!  Today was Dall’s porpoise day, and they earned that title.  The ocean is truly amazing, and I am glad everyone was able to enjoy the day together!