June 13, 2009

Let The Nights Begin!

As spring advances towards summer here and the days become longer in the San Juan Islands, we at San Juan Safaris shift into our evening sunset tours along with the lengthening sunlight. This particular Saturday marked our first late tour of the season and it was a glorious one. The sun shone through a clear sky, but the wind made jackets a necessity, especially out on the water. As Capt. Peter maneuvered us out of Friday Harbor and I talked with the guests aboard the MV Sea Lion we received a report that there was a Humpback Whale not far from us. We quickly traveled south around Turn Point and down Griffin Bay.

We were nearly to Cattle Pass when Capt. Peter slowed the boat and told us all it was time to look. It only took a minute before I spotted a blow 450 yards away at Cape San Juan. This is a beautiful protected area on the southern tip of San Juan Island. The whale was right at the edge of the current line feeding on all of the food that was being pushed through Cattle Pass with the flooding, or incoming, tide. Because the water was boiling around us with the rushing of the tide we lost track of the whale a few times, but always quickly located him again. He was also swimming in erratic patters depending on what his food was doing. Two other boats joined us out in the melee as we tracked the beautiful giant out of the pass.

Once the Humpback had moved out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca we decided to seek calmer waters. We slowly traveled up Lopez Island looking for eagles and then cruised into Parks Bay on Shaw Island. The water was like glass as the land closed around us in the little bay. At the very back of the bay we had the privilege of seeing an Osprey sitting in the top of a tree next to it's nest. Finally, it was a circuit around Yellow Island and an aerial show by juvenile and adult Bald Eagles over a nearby island as the sun sank down.

Our first evening out epitomized the tranquility of the islands and reminded us all that sometimes you need to stop and smell the roses. So, from all of us to all of you, thank you and we will...

See You In The Islands!
~Tristen, Naturalist

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