July 24, 2012

Minke Whales!

Today we got to experience something a little different, but fun! It appeared as though the Southern Resident Killer Whales had left the Salish Sea for the day, so we went out looking for our other year-round residents, the Minke Whales. We headed south of Salmon Bank, eyeing each bait ball we passed, looking for that mysteriously small dorsal, yet long, almost ancient-looking body. We saw our first one a couple miles offshore (48.24.14N 122.57.78W) and within minutes saw another about 1000 yards in the opposite direction. We eventually designated that there were 3 different Minkes in the area.

The small dorsal of the Minke Whale is very misleading to its size and often the species is underappreciated. Today however, they really got to shine, and our guests couldn’t have been more thrilled. Part of the fun in watching these whales is not knowing when or where they will come up next. We got a lot of great looks though, on all sides of the boat, and we even got to see a few birds fly…...not by choice that is...…a Minke Whale had come up and lunged right at their bait ball, taking away the fish they had accumulated for lunch. Smart whale :)

On our way back in, we saw 2 more Minke Whales near Cattle Pass along with a Steller Sea Lion who had climbed his way up onto a rocky islet. So great to see the Sea Lions returning! 

Another great day on the water!

Naturalist Tara, San Juan Safaris