July 7, 2013

Great Day For Wildlife Around San Juan Island

Today's afternoon whale watching trip was a great example of all the wildlife we can see around the San Juan Islands. Around each corner we were confronted with a different species of animal! Not even 5 minutes out and the Harbor Porpoises were happily munching on herring and smelt in the choppy waters near Cattle Pass. Usually, Harbor porpoises are fairly shy around boats, but today they gave us great views as 10-15 porpoised simultaneously! Not long after that our boat was surrounded by a plethora of bright-eyed Harbor Seals checking out our boat. Harbor Seals weren't the only pinnipeds we encountered. We also got great views of the two Stellar Sea Lions that have been hanging out in the area. These guys never fail to impress me with their size! One of the males even had a marking on its side that was put on by researcher to differentiate between individuals. Researches will commonly use regular hair dye to place numbers on the left and right side of the animal. Generally, they prefer to use Clairol Nice n Easy "Natural Black" to stand out against the golden brown of their fur. This individual appeared to have 335 written on its left side.
After our encounter with the Stellars, we decided to meet up with L-22's who have been taking advantage of having the west side of San Juan Island to themselves. Hopefully, the rest of the L Pod gang will show up soon!

 

Caitlin, Naturalist- M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris