September 8, 2018

Land and Water Wildlife!| 9/8/18| 10AM

Leaving the harbor aboard Kestrel with Captain Gabe headed North to check out some transient orcas in our area. Although a bit rainy out, the visibility was good and the sun was already trying its best to shine through. Out of the harbor, we headed north up San Juan channel to later get to Spieden channel where the sighting currently was.  

 

A smooth ride up to spieden channel, when arriving on scene we could see some dorsal fins hugging spieden island in the distance. Covered by some other whale watching vessels, we patiently waited our turn and watched them from afar. A couple of minutes later, before we could get near the island, they crossed under the boats on to the opposite side- our port side. Now, closer to us, we were able to observe these whales pretty well, even identified them as the T90s hanging out with lone bull T87! These guys were beautiful and the two bulls in the group had beautiful tall dorsals that were gracefully cutting through the water. These transient orcas were just slowly moving west and letting us admire them, carefully coming close to us and then moving away. Watching these guys for quite a while before heading out, we were able to listen to their exhalations and get good looks at some eye patches and dorsal notches. 

 

We then continued on to explore the coastline of Stuart Island, which can be so rich with wildlife. Rounding the south side, we spotted so many deer and sheep! Since it was cloudy out and the sun was not so strong on this dry land, the animals were out and enjoying it! There were big rams laying down and then plenty of groups of fallow deer with huge bucks! Their antlers were quite impressive and we observed them for a long time, fascinated moving slowly down the coast. We were also able to spot a few bald eagles as we rounded the rest of the island. 

 

After taking New channel up, we headed towards boundary pass to see what else we could find. Getting really nice views of the gulf islands, we spotted some harbor porpoises feeding in the currents. Before heading home, we had time to round the northwest side of Stuart island and admire Turn Point lighthouse. 

 

What a wonderful day full of wildlife on the water and on land today!

 

Mariana, naturalist, San Juan Safaris