July 14, 2018

Humpback, Minke Whales & Sea Lions!

Captain Gabe and I headed down to the docks early morning already with some reports of killer whales up North near Point Roberts. Although this is quite far from us, we thought we might be able to encounter these animals in time, so we got the guests on board and hurried up North! As we were heading up the San Juan Channel, we realized that the wind was a lot stronger than we had hoped for. The whales were moving quickly farther north, and the wind was blowing against the current creating rough waters. We decided to keep heading up the channel in hopes that the Strait of Georgia was not so bad, but once we arrived all we could see was white caps. Captain Gabe radioed another boat already with these whales, and they told him there was 3-5 footers and that they could barely see the whales with all the waves. Unfortunately, we decided it would be best and more enjoyable for the guests if we went to find the humpback hanging out down South near Whidbey Island. We then crossed Boundary Pass and took San Juan Channel back down towards where we came from. As we arrived on scene we were able to see Scratchy, the humpback whale! We stayed with him for a bit as he surfaced a couple of yards from our boat and showed us his fluke a couple of times. Once we decided to pull off, we headed towards a buoy where about 5 Steller Sea Lions were tightly hauled out. As we watched these lazy guys, we spotted one in the water coming towards the rest and wanting to join their haul out. This entertained us for quite a while as we watched the sea lion in the water try and unsuccessfully jump up on the buoy a couple of times before finally getting on. Headed North East back towards San Juan Islands, we were also able to spot a minke whale surface and observe some huge bait balls around it. The weather out on the strait was pleasant and the panorama so full. The mountain ranges looked surprisingly clear and we were even able to see Rainier which is about 300 miles away making for another beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest!

Mariana, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris