March 12, 2017

Early Spring in the San Juan Islands

Henry Island in the Sunshine

We had a wonderful early spring day out on the water. Gray skies and a little Pacific Northwest liquid sunshine never stop us from finding wildlife and having a great time. With nine hearty souls aboard the M/V Sea Lion left Friday harbor and headed North.

We spotted harbor porpoises on our way up towards Spieden Island, getting some looks at their well-camouflaged backs and dorsal fins in the small waves.  As we reached Green Point Captain Mike and I were delighted to find some Steller’s sea lions on the rocks and in the water around the point. They stuck their massive faces out of the water to check us out as we cruised by. Mike steered the Sea Lion to the north side of the Spieden and we were delighted to find multitudes of harbor seals in the water fishing. Everywhere we looked there was another seal face poking out of the water watching back! Dotting the evergreens were adult and juvenile bald eagles, we must have spotted probably five to six of them just in the short stretch of the island. We also got to check out one of the resident peregrine falcons who nests on the cliffy outcroppings. Perhaps our most exciting bird-moment of the day was as the peregrine dive-bombed a juvenile bald eagle who flew past the nest sight just a bit too close. It was an awesome display of the peregrine’s speed, maneuverability, and boldness!

We continued our cruise out into glassy North Haro Strait. Scanning the water Captain Mike and I found a group of Dall’s porpoise in and amongst some feeding birds. These porpoises often participate in a behavior known as bow riding, or surfing on the wave that the boat creates. As we motored towards the porpoises they turned, ready to play! We had porpoises on our bow for about twenty minutes, definitely the longest I have ever had them play with a boat! After a great encounter we began to slowly motor away and they followed us as we started to pick up speed.

Yesterday was amazing and I cannot wait to see what today has in store!

Filed by:

Captain, Lead Naturalist & Vessel Coordinator

Sarah M.

Sea Lion


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