July 4, 2019

Gray Whale By Whidbey!

Jordan | M/V Sea Lion | 07/04/19 | 1:30pm

Happy Fourth of July!! The day started with a beautiful parade marching down Spring Street in Friday Harbor. It created an air of excitement amongst everyone.

Captain Pete, Naturalist Laura and I took our vessel, the Sea Lion, out of Friday Harbor towards the mysterious unknown. We headed down through the San Juan Channel and past Cattle Point where a beautiful lighthouse stood, marking the southern point of San Juan Channel.

We scanned the glassy water for any signs of whales and watched as sea birds flew by. Eventually, we headed over towards the east in search for wildlife. We passed Lopez Island as we boated towards Whidbey Island. Here we continued to search and then BOOM! Gray Whale!

I was incredibly excited because gray whale sightings are very rare in these waters! I, personally, have only seen one gray whale since working for this company!

This splotchy baleen whale surfaced and showed the boat its big back, exhaling with an explosive blow. His back had a unique pattern created by years of barnacles growing on and falling off his body. It was really fun watching this massive gray whale swimming and diving and most likely searching for food among the shallow waters. Gray whales are different from other baleen whales due to their unique benthic feeding techniques. They dive to the sea floor, turn on their side and skim the bottom as they scoop up amphipods, ghost shrimp and various other little critters.

Eventually we turned and headed back towards San Juan. Along the way we spotted lots of harbor porpoises! These tiny animals were a fun comparison to the huge whale we had just seen! All the kids on board were super excited!

We boated up into the Rosario Strait and wound between islands until finally reaching our home harbor.

What a lovely day.