May 22, 2018

Early Morning Wildlife

Steller Sea Lions

[Saturday, 5/19/18 - M/V Kestrel - 10:00AM - Naturalist Erick]

 

This Saturday, Captain Gabe and I took an early morning group out to go search for fun wildlife in the Salish Sea. Aboard Kestrel in our exposure suits we jetted off at around 26 kts to start our search. We headed north in San Juan Channel and made our first stop at Green Point. This normally is a favorite haul-out for Steller Sea Lions during the winter months but as we are quickly approaching summertime most of them are making their way north towards their customary breeding grounds. Today, there was one big male still hauled out here seeming to be enjoying the peace and quiet that is not common when this place gets crowded. As we scooted by he stared back at us as we drift in a back eddy until we couldn’t see him anymore. We continued on going northward and entered into Boundary Pass. Here we saw a bunch of Harbor Porpoises! They were swimming and hunting in the current lines made by the ever shifting tides and winds here. After watching them we again headed north until we reached East Point on Saturna Island. Here there were a bunch of Steller Sea Lions here. There were at least 30 on the rock resting until a very large male climbed out of the water and displaced everyone. These creatures can reach giant sizes - around 2,200 lbs! We circled around and also got to see a few of the sea lions rafting right next to the rock in the currents there. As we reached the other side there were a bunch of the sea lions’ close cousins - the Pacific Harbor Seals! That was all the larger wildlife we saw that trip but we took a beautiful winding course back through the skinny Georgeson Pass which sometimes seems like you can’t even fit the whole boat through. So cool that this is a place that we have the opportunity to travel through!

 

Whale folks until next time,

Naturalist Erick

San Juan Safaris