October 24, 2018

Humpback Whale on the West Side of San Juan Island | 10/24/2018 | 12:00pm

Humpback whale exhalation

Sarah | 10/24/2018 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00pm

Captain Mike and I left Friday Harbor on a beautiful autumn day here in the Pacific Northwest. We elected to head south out of the harbor. At this point in the year there are fewer boats on the water, usually running one trip a day departing at around noon. This means that we rarely have any wildlife reports before leaving the dock, and reports start rolling in as boats spread out throughout the Salish Sea.

Mike steered down San Juan Channel towards Cattle Pass, encountering several Steller’s sea lions and harbor seals in the water way and hauled out on the rocky shores. We decided to head north up the west side of San Juan Island in Haro Strait. There were incredible birds spread out throughout the wide strait including common murre, white-winged scoters, grebes, surf scoters, as well as several gull species.

As we continued north, we got a call from another boat on the water: they had a possible sighting of a humpback whale just to the north of our location. As we approached the area, we saw the whale’s giant exhalation hanging in the air above the water. As we got closer, we got great looks at the whale’s wide back and heard its explosive breath. After a great encounter with the humpback, we headed off in search of some other wildlife!

We meandered our way north and found bald eagles, harbor seals and incredible scenery. Making our way back towards Friday Harbor we enjoyed smooth water and the magic of foggy islands.

Filed by:

Captain, Lead Naturalist & Vessel Coordinator

Sarah M.

Sea Lion


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