August 8, 2020

Minke Whales Swimming in Salmon Bank

Minke Whale Feeding

Olivia | M/V Sea Lion | August 8th, 2020 | 13:00

For our afternoon trip, we set out south through San Juan Channel in the direction of Hein Bank. Just outside Griffin Bay we spotted a sea lion whipping around an octopus, providing excitement right off the bat. Prior to emerging into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, we made a stop at Whale Rocks to see not only Harbor Seals, but also those Steller’s Sea Lions! We are continuing to see the world’s largest sea lion return to our waters after spending the summer in Alaska breeding with those females. Is it almost mid- August already?

The Strait of Juan de Fuca is a vast body of water that is home to a couple shallow banks. These banks provide an environment for small schooling fish, bringing in lots of bait balls, birds, Harbor Seals, Harbor Porpoise, and of course, Baleen Whales! These are essentially cetacean hot spots and are a great place to scan for wildlife. We decided to search around Hein Bank and eventually turned back north to search near Salmon Bank closer to San Juan Island where we found a Minke Whale! These elusive whales keep the entire boat in a very interactive viewing opportunity as we try to predict where they will appear next. This make the trip feel a bit more fun and adventurous!

Heading towards Lopez Island, we dipped behind Long Island and to check out the active Bald Eagle’s nest and even found a large adult eagle perched up in the pines nearby scanning the waters below. Heading back towards Friday Harbor we found lots of Harbor Porpoise traveling up and down the salty waters. This was such a pleasant way to spend our afternoon as well as being greeted back to the dock with an evening of sunshine.