April 11, 2021

Gray Whale Wonder in Cattle Pass!

Jordan Higgins Blogs

Jordan | M/V Sea Lion | 04/11/2021 |1:00pm

What a gorgeous day today! It was the first day of the year where I genuinely felt warm and wore my T-shirt around the harbor! I knew right away that it was going to be a good day.

Captain Pete and I hopped on the boat with our 35 new friends and took off up the San Juan Channel and headed towards Flattop Island. Here we found 3 beautiful bald eagles! Two adults which we presumed were a mated pair and a juvenile bald eagle who hadn’t yet grown his white feathers.

Under the trees, basking on the rocks were countless harbor seals! They were very fun to watch as they flopped around and enjoyed the sunshine. Then suddenly we saw two massive Steller sea lions swimming towards the seals! What a strange sight to see. We rarely see the two species that closely together. It made me wonder if there was potentially a lot of good food nearby.

We then headed towards Speiden Island and found even more Steller sea lions! Countless lumbering bodies barked at each other and clambered around the rocks. It was amazing to compare how much larger they were than the seals.

Then, one of our whale watching companions radioed us and ushered us down south towards Cattle Pass. Something exciting was found! We turned around and headed back down the San Juan Channel until we reached the southern point of San Juan. Here we admired the gorgeous Cattle Point lighthouse until someone yelled “Blow!”

We found a very special whale! A Gray whale! Gray whales are not super common in this area and I, personally, haven’t seen this species in 2 years. We were all very excited as we anticipated each surfacing of this massive baleen whale. He took a few deep dives, so we were able to see his fluke coming out of the water! I hope my guests got some good pictures of that uniquely marbled and splotchy tail. He looked to be enjoying the turbulent waters as the currents were churning up a lot of food for him to feed on!

Eventually we had to return home but I’m so glad we were able to have such a memorable encounter.