October 2, 2011

Orca Whales, A Loon, A Brown Peligan, Dall's Porpoise & Stellar Sealion on our Last Daily Tour

Yes, we saw orca whales today on the 2nd of October - late in the whale watching season.  We took off from Friday Harbor, San Juan Island heading north toward Spieden Island.  As we neared Speiden, one of the guests spotted a large brown head which turned out to be a great big stellar sea lion fishing by himself.  We stayed on the south side of Speiden and Shelly spotted a mature bald eagle up in a tree. Down below the Mouflon Sheep and Sitka Deer were roaming about.

We pushed on to Haro Strait and started south down Henry Island to the west side of San Juan Island. We were a bit south of Kellet's Buff and north of Lime Kiln Point when orca whales came into view. It was part of L pod that we were viewing.  We sat for about 40 minutes watching the orca pursuing fish. Surfacing for air, switching directions back and forth the whales this up the entire time we sat there. Capt. Mike put down the hydrophone and there was some whale calls that could be heard. Light calling - not a lot.

As we headed further south on the west side, some Dall's porpoise started riding our bow. Brief, but what a treat.  As the water was gliding I by, I screamed out "loon!" and sure enough it was.  Then at the southern tip of the island I spotted a BROWN Pelican in a raft of sea birds. Brown pelican may be common where you are from, but they are a bit of a rarity here in the islands.  Near Lopez Island, we stopped at a large rock outcropping to view at least 30 stellar sea lion, what seemed like hundreds of cormorants and gulls.  One could definitely smell these animals prior to actually seeing them.

What made this trip so enjoyable for me was that every guest on the boat seemed interested in anything Shelly or I could tell them about the area, birds, trees and wildlife.
This is the last daily tour of the season for us and what a trip it was.