May 30, 2009

Oh deer!

What a nice cozy trip we had today on the MV Kittiwake. With thirteen super guests, Capt. Craig at the helm and me sharing all of the knowledge that I could, there was no way we could have anything other than a great day. On a 32' boat everyone gets to be fast friends and the nice small group is almost like a private charter.

With the Orcas still busy at sea and the South end of the island fogged in we set off to find our kicks elsewhere. And what a time we had. There were Bald Eagles galore, including four nests. We saw them sitting in trees, sitting in nests and flying over the boat. At Mandarte Island in Canada we saw nesting Double-crested and Pelagic Cormorants as well as gulls and Pigeon Guillemots. Out in Haro Strait we made a valiant effort to locate a Minke Whale that I had a couple of long-distance views of, but even with the help of two other boats it slipped away from us. Minkes are the smallest baleen whale in these waters and are very secretive. After the Minke watch Capt. Craig stopped the boat near the international border so that I could talk about the Pig War and its long-lasting effects on the ownership of these islands. We even saw a cute little Mink running along the water line of Johns Island.

The sun kept us company throughout the day and everyone came back pink cheeked and happy. Our crowning glory though was when we came to the channel between the Cactus Islands only to see two buck deer swimming between the two islands. Since moving here I have heard stories of deer out in the channels, but this was a first for everyone on board. What a shock when the strange looking log in the water turned out to be the heads and velvet covered antlers of a couple of Black-tailed Deer. I thought the cameras would all start smoking from the mad picture taking that ensued. It was definitely a rare show and one to save for posterity.

Even though the marine mammals that were spotted were not what everyone expected, it added lustre to a great trip. So, from all of us at San Juan Safaris to all of you out there, thank you and we will...

See You In The Islands!
~Tristen, Naturalist

Orca Whales and Wildlife Are Our Only Business. ©