June 12, 2021
Gray Whale Feeding and a Fluking near Cattle Point
Haleigh | M/V Osprey | June 13, 2021 | 5:30pm
Our sunset trip began traveling south through San Juan Channel. Visibility was great with the surrounding landscape crisply defined. We could see Koma Kulshan (Mount Baker) off of our Port (left side), Mount Rainier straight ahead down through the channel, and the Olympic Peninsula’s jagged mountaintops following down our Starboard (right side) out towards the Pacific Ocean.
A Gray whale was sighted traveling south along San Juan Island earlier in the day, leading us to believe the 40-foot baleen whale would be found! As we neared Cattle Point, we saw the surfacing of our whale from about ¼ mile away. We slowly pulled into position to observe this Gray whale surface in between feeding for ghost shrimps along the seafloor. The water was flooding into the channel with us and the Gray whale sitting at the mouth of it. It was like we were both running on a treadmill to stay in position as the water tried to push us north. We even got a special fluking by this whale, signifying the tail end of our time with this Gray!
We continued our search for wildlife at Whale Rocks where we saw Steller Sea Lions perched high on the rocks with their chests puffed. Harbor seals swam in the surrounding bull kelp looking for their last meal before flopping on the rocky shoreline. We peeled away into the Strait of Juan de Fuca where we ended our night with a Minke sighting! This Minke was playing a game of hide-and-go-seek with us, popping up on our port (left) side, and then again on our starboard (right) side. After a few Minke surfacings, we turned around to head back to Friday Harbor. Everyone admired the incredible views of our far away mountains, allowing the time for our wildlife sightings to sink in.