March 11, 2017

First Humpback Whale of the Season in the San Juan Islands - March 06, 2017

Flattop Island

We had a wintery day out on the water on Monday. Captain Mike and I headed north into Canadian waters on the search for whales and wildlife! We saw many bald eagles scattered trough the evergreen trees and enjoyed looking for harbor seals hauled out on the shores. We motored around Spieden and Flattop Islands, marveling at how beautiful the greenery of the islands looked under the low clouds.

We continued on our search pattern north into Boundary Pass, crossing over the large waterway towards the cliffs of Saturna Island. We found some of the feral goats that call the island home climbing on the rocks. These animals were originally brought to the island by early European explorers intending they be used as a food source. These goats escaped and became feral residents of the island. It is always fun to watch them scampering up and down the vertical cliff faces.

As we were looking at the goats, Captain mike was scanning across Boundary Pass towards Skipjack Island. He called me into the wheelhouse saying that he thought he saw a blow. We turned to boat around and headed for the small island, and then, all of a sudden, the distinct exhalation blow of a humpback whale hung in the air! Mike had found our first humpback of the season! We watched this juvenile as it traversed south towards Turn Point on Stuart Island, taking longer dives after fluking up. As we watched the whale dark clouds started blowing towards us across the water. Snowflakes started to fall, and it was magical.

We left the humpback in the snow, and headed further north towards East Point on Saturna Island to pay a visit to Boiling Reef to hopefully find some Steller’s sea lions. As the flurries came down we had some great looks at the massive animals, before turning back south to head for Friday Harbor!