June 23, 2021

Magical Minke Whale Memories

Jordan | M/V Kestrel | 06/23/2021 2:00pm

Today was such a gorgeous day out on the water. The waves seemed almost mystical like we were floating in a painting.

The day began with Captain Brian and I jumping on the Kestrel and heading out towards the southern point of San Juan. Within the San Juan Channel, we spotted a large group of harbor seals lounging on the rocks. We even saw a pup! Hopefully, soon we will see more baby seals popping up.

We also found a bald eagle jumping along the rocks with a giant fish in its talons! It seemed too heavy to fly with. What a very impressive kill. We watched it rip apart its prey and peck at the meat. So cool!

Then we drove by Cattle Point Lighthouse, the picturesque southern tip of San Juan Island, and continued out into Salmon Bank. This large expanse of water swarmed with groups of birds and a few seals bobbing in and out of the water.

As we scanned, one of our guests spotted a minke whale! Good job! We got some good looks as he swam circles around our boat. He had a beautiful shiny black back with a crescent moon shaped dorsal fin! Minkes are the smallest baleen whale in the world! As filter feeders, they feed upon small marine organisms like the fish the birds were fighting over. So the minke swam over towards the bait ball and lunge fed amongst the flock. At one point we even saw his face and tail!

We continued boating around the open waters enjoying the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island off in the distance. Mount Rainier was especially beautiful today.

Then we headed back towards Cattle Pass and found Steller sea lions! There was one massive sea lion that was literally the largest I’ve ever seen here! He rolled around the rocks enjoying the sunshine and showing off his huge belly.

Then we were about to take off, when we found Tufted Puffins!! This would be my second time ever seeing puffins! So it was incredibly exciting. We watched the two birds relaxing and paddling at the surface . Very fun.

Eventually, we headed back to the harbor.

What a lovely day.