June 2, 2009

Gray Days

What a day to see gray. A whale that is. As our balmy (82 degrees F, 28% humidity) weather continues here in the San Juan Islands we took to the seas to find cool breezes and cool animals. True to our Pacific Northwest abundance we were not disappointed. Craig expertly captained the MV Sea Lion while Jeanette and I performed for the crowd. Our boisterous group of guests, along with Junior Mariners, were super wildlife spotters and found lots of things for everyone to see.

The waters continue to be full of driftwood and kelp rafts from the high tides that we had last week and the increased snow melt from these warm days. We skimmed past it all as we watched Harbor Seals bob like corks in the glass-like waters before rolling under the waves once more. The cormorants were out in force on Goose Island, along with the various gulls. Disney got it right in the movie Finding Nemo when they portrayed the gulls as saying "Mine, Mine". Listening to a large flock of gulls sounds just like that now.

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island was busy today as we motored into the waters just West of there. It looked as if the pilots were doing touch-and-gos in the fighter jets, roaring through the sky giving us quite the air show. The noise did not seem to disturb the Gray Whale as it continued its foraging behavior. It has been several days now that this single whale has been seen feeding in the area. There were also Harbor Seals around, so the buffet must be good. Those passengers on the stern of the boat got a real eyeful when the whale came up and blew not 25 yards behind the boat at one point. It then moved off in another direction as did we. I could not get any confirming reports about how bad the breath was though. Clearly more study is needed.

As we were motoring back towards Lopez Island one of the guests saw a sea lion in the water. We made a quick u-turn and a few people were able to see it before it tired of the attention and swam down into the deep. The Long Island Bald Eagle was again in attendance today, but we could not see any action in or around the nest. All of the creatures that we saw today looked robust and healthy though and seem to be making the most of our lovely weather.

Our noses pink and our minds full of beautiful mental pictures we arrived back in Friday Harbor to take our new found peace ashore. So, to all of you out there from all of us here at San Juan Safaris, thank you and we will...

See You In The Islands!
~Tristen, Naturalist

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