April 25, 2018

Humpback whales arriving home for the summer! (Saturday, April 21, 2018)

Humpback whale in the San Juan Islands

[Sarah – 04/21/2018 – M/V Sea Lion – 12:00pm]

We had a classic Pacific Northwest spring trip on the M/V Sea Lion on Saturday! With a little bit of every weather condition, and lovely wildlife everywhere, it is a trip I will not soon forget.

M/V Sea Lion left Friday Harbor and headed north cruising towards Spieden Island, and other wildlife hotspots. We checked out harbor seals, Steller’s sea lions, and bald eagles before pressing further north. After talking with the other members of our spotting network, we elected to head towards the Java Islets, and up into Plumper Sound. On days with no firm whale report it is important to cover water that hasn’t been looked at within the day… you never know what you might find! That’s exactly what happened when one of our colleagues, Captain Pete at San Juan Excursions, called in a report of a pair of humpback whales near Turn Point on Stuart Island. We about-faced and headed back south towards the report!

With a spot of wind and a touch of rain, we encountered the pair of humpbacks in the deep water of Northern Haro Strait. The huge animals were traveling together, something that is unusual, but not unheard of for this normally solitary species. We enjoyed watching as the massive whales raised their tail flukes into the air before diving, and marveled at how powerfully they exhaled.

After a lovely encounter with the whales we began to meander our way back towards Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The brief overcast cleared, revealing a brilliant blue.