November 9, 2019

Humpback Whale in Northern Haro Strait

Cloudy day in the San Juan Islands

Sarah | 11/09/2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00pm

We left San Juan Island under typical November gray skies with a sight drizzle. Weather doesn’t really affect our wildlife sightings, we usually see the same wildlife on sunny days and rainy days.

Captain Pete and I decided to head north through San Juan Channel to start our trip off. We stopped at Spieden Island to look for some bald eagles. We got a great look at a pair of eagles up on some of the trees on the North side of the island. Bald eagles grow into the adult plumage around the age of four here in the San Juan Islands. These birds are massive with a six-foot wingspan, and are around three feet tall when they are sitting in a tree or on the ground. As we motored further north we also got looks at some harbor seals and harbor porpoise surfacing and foraging around the boat.

We decided to try our luck looking for whales in the northern section of Haro Strait. This area has been incredibly productive this year, we have seen so much food and feeding wildlife, so it seemed like a good bet! All of a sudden… WHOOSH! The huge exhale of a humpback whale! We got great looks at the huge filter-feeding, mysticete as it changed directions feeding in and amongst the seabirds at the surface. Currently the humpbacks in our area are trying to put on some last-minute pounds prior to their migration south. Humpback whales can, and will, eat over a ton of food a day. As big as they are, humpbacks only eat small fish and small shrimp-like creatures called krill. It is always a pleasure to see humpbacks, but especially at this time of year right before they head out on their extensive travels!

We went home via Spieden Channel, the south-side of Spieden Island, and were treated to sightings of some of the non-native hoofstock on the island, as well as harbor seals and Steller’s sea lions.

Filed by:

Captain, Lead Naturalist & Vessel Coordinator

Sarah M.

Sea Lion


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