August 30, 2017

Orcas Make for Happy Days in the San Juans

[08/29/17- M/V Sea Lion- Kelsey, Naturalist- 1:30PM]

Smoke returned slightly to the San Juan Islands today, but that didn’t get us down on our whale watch and wildlife tour on M/V Sea Lion!

We departed Friday Harbor in high spirits, ready to see what would await us as we trekked through some of the most beautiful parts of the inner islands of the San Juans. We departed Friday Harbor and headed East past Shaw Island, Lopez Island, and Orcas Island. Near the ferry terminal at Lopez, we stopped and checked out a huge bald eagle’s nest, and further up the waterway we spotted a pair of endangered Marbled murrelets! Such a rare treat.

We continued north and soon approached near Point Lawrence, and we immediately hit a wall of wind. The waves had little caps of white on them, and suddenly, appearing out of the spikey waves was a pod of transient orcas! They were hustlin’ at a quick speed, lifting their chins high above the water and waves and pushing on. They were close together, practically overlapping as they were frolicking and bookin’ it through the water. These were the T100’s, a beautiful group of about 7 or 8 whales with a large male, a couple babies, and a few adult females. They would appear above the waves in large white water splashes, majestically lined up in a unified wall of power and wave.  The awe that can be captured in a moment like that when viewing them in such a strong family presence and demonstrating such muscle and sheer power and speed is pretty phenomenal.

After we left the whales, we checked out a plethora of harbor seals and some early-returning Stellar’s sea lions, and then we cruised on back home to San Juan Island. The day left us awestruck and could only be described as humbling. We can’t wait to have more days like today!