September 11, 2016

J's at Turn Point & Boundary Pass, Epic Sunset!

Today was a fairytale, a pure, Salish Sea, fairytale! Although weather conditions down south were a little bit iffy, with two foot chop and white caps through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and up Haro as well, M/V Sea Lion was headed north, where nothing could stop us! We had flat, calm seas, beautifully reflecting the clear skies above. The most exciting part was the favorable reports of resident orcas on the west side of the island, moving north. As we cruised up San Juan Channel on our 1:30 whale watch, we were able to check out some harbor seals, the shoreline of the mysterious Speiden Island, some bald eagles, harbor porpoises, and before we were even done drooling over the magnificent biodiversity we had already encountered, we came around the western tip of Spieden and spotted our first resident whales of the day!

We were lucky enough to hang out with J-16 matriline on this first. Mama Slick was leading the way with baby Scarlet in her slipstream, with daughters Alki and Echo and grandcalf Sonic not far behind. Big brother Mike was keeping to himself a little ways behind his mom and sisters, but as we came up Stuart Island and stopped near Turn Point to watch some fun spyhops (and an EPIC swim-by from Slick and Scarlet!), we saw his ominous-looking dorsal slicing through the water. Mike gave us some beautiful views of his distinct saddle patch, and we were so thrilled to be able to see this entire matriline as they made there way around Turn Point and headed towards Boundary Pass.

On our sunset trip, we were treated to the insane beauty of the Salish Sea and the sinking sun illuminating the skies and waters around us with purples and yellows and pinks. The scenery wasn't the only thing that had us ogling, as we were able to again catch up with the J-16 matriline as well as Blackberry and his family pod! This time around, these animals seemed like they were just chilling and resting, well-earned after a hard day of travel and foraging!

The views were out-of-this-world. Enjoy the gallery below and as always, thank you to everyone who joined us out on the water today!