October 6, 2019

Lunging Humpback Causes Birdnado near Smith Island!

Piper | Sunday, October 6, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00 PM

Today it was Captain Erick and I on the Sea Lion with some really lovely guests and we headed south in San Juan Channel, on our way down to scan the Strait of Juan de Fuca! On our way through the channel our first wildlife spotting was a pair of bald eagles soaring through the sky just off our port side! Their impressive six-foot wingspan was in full view as we passed each other, our boat slowing down shortly after as Captain Erick spotted some Steller’s sea lions both hauled out on the rocky outcroppings in front of us and playing in the currents just below!

We watched as some of the bulls postured on the rocks and the juveniles ran around the island, as we were pulling away one of the younger animals in the water began porpoising toward us! It was a blast to watch him jump up out of the water and slide back under the surface so gracefully!

Continuing along toward the south we heard word of a humpback whale that had been sighted just a little way’s away from us, so we continued south toward Smith Island. Before we could even see the blow from that humpback, we spotted the massive amount of birds circling overhead of the ball of bait fish the whale was hunting! It was incredible! There were so very many birds!

We were treated to a very active humpback sighting as this whale lunge fed, surfacing with its mouth open and its baleen poking out. The whale broke the water again and again, taking massive breaths before submerging and turning underwater this way and that as it gorged on bait fish! Humpback whales fast during their winters down south so this whale had the right idea to pack itself full of as much food as possible before it heads out!

We stayed as long as we could with this whale before heading back towards the marina but along the way we stopped to check out a haul-out of harbor seals basking in the sun, trying to warm up from their time in the chilly waters! Such an epic day today!!