November 11, 2018
Orcas and Sea Lions Spotted in Cattle Pass, San Juan Island | 11/11/2018 | 12:00pm
[Sarah |11/11/2018 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00pm]
We had an amazing day to go exploring for wildlife under clear November skies on a picture perfect day here in the San Juan Islands. Leaving Friday Harbor we decided to head south toward Cattle Pass and Haro Strait on the search for wildlife.
As we made our way through the narrow channel between San Juan Island and Lopez Islands we approached Whale Rocks, and out of nowhere the exhales of a group of orcas rose above the surface! We watched as the whales surfaced around Deadman’s rock and then turned to head south out of the pass towards open waters. As the whales travelled through the churning waters they disturbed many a seabird floating on the surface as the came up to breathe. By looking at the unique markings on each whale, we were able to identify these individuals as the T038As and the T035As, two unusual families to see in our waters.
After a great encounter with the orcas we decided to head further south and west to see if we could find any other wildlife. We were treated to stunning views of the surrounding mountains, including a rare fall glimpse of Mt. Rainier on the horizon. Out near Hein Bank we encountered a group of playful Dall’s porpoise. These small cetaceans are the fastest marine mammals on the planet, reaching 45 miles per hour in burst. After watching the small black and white mammals zip around the boat, we headed back in towards the San Juan Islands. On Whale Rocks we found a group of Steller’s sea lions hauled out and sunning themselves in the afternoon sunshine, and then, very briefly, we got a rare look at a sea otter in an amongst the kelp!
Overall, an incredible wildlife-filled November whale watch & wildlife tour!