April 17, 2021

Gray Whale Feeding at Sunset!

Jordan | M/V Sea Lion | 04/17/2021 |5:00pm

I would call this second Sunset Tour of the season a success! It felt like it was already mid-summer with sunny skies and calm seas.

Captain Pete and I took Sea Lion out of Friday Harbor and headed south down the San Juan Channel, exploring the coastlines until we reached one of my favorite locations in the San Juans: Cattle Point! The beautiful lighthouse on the point sat illuminated by the lowering sun.

We then approached rocks jutting out of the water and found mounds of Steller sea lions covering its surface! They were barking so loud! Some of them baring teeth at each other and even some swimming and splashing in the water. It’s always so fun to watch these massive animals that truly remind us of bears!

Next, we boated out into open water. On one side we admired the Olympic Peninsula, the other Mr. Baker as it sat illuminated in the sunlight. Then…BLOW!! The people on the bow yelled and got so excited. We approached closer and, sure enough, there was a whale!

As we watched, we learned it was a gray whale! It is super rare to see gray whales in this region, so it was definitely a special sight to see! Its beautiful splotchy back burst through the surface and the whale hardly seemed to move at all and spent a lot of time at the surface! He seemed to enjoy this one specific spot of water as he dove down repeatedly in the same area. On his deep dives he showed us his huge fluke! A few people got really good photos of the tail and Mt. Baker!

A few times Captain Pete shut off our engine, so the silence amplified the beautiful moments between us, the whale, and the grand open sea. I greatly appreciated my guests and all their inquisitive questions about the whale and our wildlife.

Eventually we continued and enjoyed the scenery of southern Lopez Island. As the sun set further in the sky, we came along two bald eagles perched in a tree! It was quite the sight to behold as they stood tall and elegant on their home island.

Finally, we headed back towards San Juan as the sunset turned the sky bright pink and purple.

What a lovely evening cruise!