June 3, 2019
Humpback whale in Boundary Pass
Sarah | 06/03/2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00 PM
I just got off the water after a lovely day spent with wonderful wildlife and inquisitive guests. We had amazing June weather to explore the Salish Sea and we took full advantage of the sunshine and calm seas to go exploring.
Captain Pete and I elected to head north through San Juan Channel towards Boundary Pass. We stopped at White Rock near Waldron Island to check out some harbor seals hauled out on the rocks. These small pinnipeds are some of our most common marine mammals in the Salish Sea. Closely related to bears, these critters are true seals, meaning that unlike sea lions and fur seals, they cannot rotate their shoulders and hips around to be used as feet on land. Instead of walking (let’s be real, waddling) on land true seals flop on land. This skeletal structure also changes the way the two types of pinnipeds move through the water. Sea lions fly through the water using their two front flippers, while seals push their way through the water using their back flippers.
We decided to continue north on our search for other marine wildlife. We have been seeing an abundance of food in the form of small baitfish in and around the Strait of Georgia and Boundary Pass this spring. Typically when we are on the search for wildlife we like to spend time in areas that we’ve seen a lot of food. As we pushed further north we got a report from another whale watch boat who had spotted a humpback whale near Blunden Island and Saturna Island. We arrived on scene and got amazing looks at the huge whale. Humpbacks are the fourth or fifth largest whale in the world, and are a filter feeding species, also known as a baleen species or a mysticete. These whales are eating tiny species of fish like herring or sandlance, or even tiny shrimp like creatures called krill. We had an awesome encounter with the humpback, even getting to see its tail above the surface on a couple of dives. I believe that we were looking at a humpback identified as BCX1057 “Divot.”
After some time spent with the humpback we elected to explore some water that hadn’t been searched by another whale watch company recently. Each day is different and all of the Pacific Whale Watch Association companies take varied routes through the islands. We are constantly scanning for wildlife in different areas, and constantly sharing information with one another. We got lovely views of Turn Point, the Olympic Mountains, and Haro Strait as we motored. We stopped at Spieden Island to take a peek at a bald eagle as well as some of the game animals on the slopes.
It was a most excellent spring day spent on the water, bring on the summer!