August 31, 2018

Humpback trio| 8/27/18| 1:30pm

Guests aboard M/V Sea Lion along with naturalist Rachel, Captain Pete and I were ready to get out on the water on this CLEAR and sunny August day! After two long weeks of wildfire smokes in our area and no visibility, it was a treat to get to see the mountain ranges in the distance. Already looking like a good day with a report from another boat who had Humpbacks south of Cattle Pass. After boarding the boat and familiarizing our guests with the natural history of the area, we left the harbor and headed down san juan channel.

It was a day after a full moon and the currents were going even crazier! As soon as we reached Cattle Pass, there were up swellings, tide rips, whirlpools, and everything else you can think of! It looked like a river out there, moving our boat around as if it was made out of paper. Reaching the area where the whales were spotted, we got a fast glimpse of their spout and then they went down for a long dive..Minutes went by and no boats could find them, we were all searching in every direction. After about 15 minutes, boats north of us spotted them quickly moving up San Juan Channel- where we had just came from! 

Turning our boat around, we decided to head back north, but first stop at Whale rocks to get a good kick out of looking at the Steller Sea Lions- the coolest marine mammal in this area in my opinion! Always so comical and never a disappointment to watch them swing their massive heads around and gnaw at one another, raising their pectoral fins to wave hello!

Now headed back up the channel, we were able to encounter the humpback whales again. We observed these two animals move up and down the channel doing what looked to be feeding. They were identified as Heather and Raptor- two common summer residents here. We were able to get really good looks at their flukes (tails) which give off exactly who they are but also is a very pretty sight with the clear backdrop of the islands and the Olympics in the background! 

After spending half an hour with these guys, we heard there was another humpback coming down the channel- so we headed up the channel once again! Coming near Turn Island, there it was- our third humpback today! This animal seemed to be a lot smaller than the other two, still probably around 40ft weighting about 40 tons though! We observed him/her for a bit and then decided to circumnavigate Shaw Island finding a majestic bald eagle before heading back home from a full day of whale watching!

Mariana, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris