August 14, 2019

Mysterious Minke Madness!


Jordan | M/V Sea Lion | 08/14/19 | 1:30pm

It was a magical minke whale day!

It began with Captain Pete, Naturalist Olivia and I heading out of Friday Harbor on the Sea Lion. We boated south down through the San Juan Channel and past Cattle Point lighthouse. We continued out towards the Salmon Bank, a very shallow body of water off the southern tip of San Juan Island. Here we saw something appear…

It was a minke whale! The big black back and crescent moon shaped dorsal fin emerged from the water and quickly disappeared! We boated over towards the area and watched as the minke whale sporadically surfaced and dove all around our boat! It kept everyone on our toes! Then another minke whale appeared and then another! They all chaotically lunged and splashed and dove as birds swarmed above them. They created a feeding frenzy as all the minke whales chased after fish and the gulls and diving birds followed them around to take advantage of the pandemonium.

Sometimes you could even hear the whales before you saw them! So, Captain Pete shut off our engine and everyone kept our ears open as the powerful minke breaths showed us their position. Then a couple of the whales swam close to our boat! As the minkes lunged after fish, we could see their shimmery blubber shining in the sunlight! So cool!

Everyone had such a great time watching the minke whales!

Then, we headed off to look for more wildlife!

We passed by Long Island and spotted a giant bald eagles’ nest in the tree tops! It was this giant shadowy form sitting up in the trees. It was easy to see how some of these eagle nests can get up to 2,000 pounds!

Then, we boated towards Whale Rocks and found some Steller sealions! It was incredible! These massive pinnipeds lumbered around the island and barked at each other. You could see their massive teeth as they bared their teeth at each other! Others looked really relaxed as they basked in the sun and took a nap. They reminded me of giant puppy dogs!

Eventually, we headed back home towards Friday Harbor but what a lovely day!