July 29, 2020
Humpback Whale Travels through Haro Strait!
Erick | M/V Sea Hawk | 12:00 | Wednesday, July 23, 2020
Today, we had a trip on M/V Sea Hawk out of Roche Harbor. I love taking Sea Hawk out. She has a great viewing platform from the bow, where you are raised a little off the water but not too much, so you feel like you are a little more part of what is happening in the water around you. She also started her life as a salmon fishing boat in Puget Sound and has switched over to ecotourism as her fun retirement job. Wyatt and I took a small group out to go look for some exciting marine wildlife! We left the dock with a report of a Humpback Whale off the west side of San Juan Island! We headed through Mosquito Pass and rounded Kellett Bluff and saw it headed towards Turn Point. We slowly approached and started paralleling the whale as it continued its journey north. Many of the Humpback Whales that we see here are moving north to feed up in waters in British Columbia and Alaska. As we observe more and more here though, it seems that a lot are spending plenty of time in the Salish Sea and the Strait of Juan de Fuca feeding here too! This is super exciting since they were hunted out of the area by whalers a long time ago and this seems to be a result of their population increasing again. This one was fluking a lot as it traveled towards Turn Point. It was so cool to see this giant (~40 ft.) travel so gracefully through the water. We were not sure on the ID on this whale but the bottom of its flukes was mostly black with a few small white patches. It followed the Stuart Island shoreline and eventually crossed the border into Canada. We turned off and took a quick stop at Turn Point in the shadow of Lovers’ Leap where we sat and enjoyed the whistling Pigeon Guillemots flying around with their bright red feet. We cruised around the other side of the point where we saw glorious Mt. Baker come into view as well as a Bald Eagle sitting in a tree! We continued towards the east and made a stop when we saw some Harbor Porpoises hunting in the calm waters off Johns Island. These are the smallest and the most common cetacean in the Salish Sea. We watched their tiny triangle shaped dorsal pop up and down for a while before moving on to Flattop Island. Before we reached there though we saw a Bald Eagle soar by carrying a fish! Good job buddy! At Flattop we saw a bunch more Pigeon Guillemots and at Gull Rock we saw quite a few mother Harbor Seals with their pups! After that much cuteness it was just about time to head back to the dock. What another amazing day in the Salish Sea!
Stay Whale, Y’all