August 8, 2019

Fantastic Minke Whale Experience South of San Juan Island

Minke Whale South of San Juan Island

Olivia | August 8th, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 1:30pm

With a gorgeous day ahead of us, Captain Pete, Co-Naturalist Alexandria and I decided to head south down San Juan Channel towards some potential whale reports near Salmon Bank, while also staying on the look out for other possible whales and wildlife in the area. Along this route, we were seeing heaps of Harbor Porpoises popping up with those chocolate chip dorsal fins. Just as we breached the Strait of Juan de Fuca, we started noticing a few other Whale Watching Vessels in the area, letting us know we were close. All of a sudden, our Minke Whale comes up for a breath, showing off that odd dorsal fin on the small baleen whale. This whale was on a feeding frenzy, constantly popping up around our boat and in between bait balls, giving us one of the best Minke Whale experiences I have had yet. We even had a Harbor Seal swimming around taking advantage of the smaller bait fish being stirred up!

With Cattle Point Lighthouse still in view, we decided to boat east towards the southern edge of Lopez Island where boats have not actively looked in quite some time to see if there was anything lurking below the cold Salish Sea waters. After we looped that area, we stopped at a small island south of Lopez to catch an awesome view of a large Bald Eagle nest roosted at the top of some large pines. Not only that, but saw Bald Eagles soaring with that six-foot wingspan above the trees.

For our last stop before heading north through the channel back towards Friday Harbor, we stopped and stared/listened in amazement at some very large Steller’s Sea Lions and their dinosaur like bellows! These large Pinnipeds have really been exciting us since they are returning a little earlier than normal for the season and are the largest sea lions in the world! Come enjoy the amazement of our biodiverse waters that the Salish Sea has to offer!