June 25, 2018

Perfect Day

Captain Mike, our excited guests, and I took off down the San Juan Channel on a peaceful Saturday afternoon. Firstly, Captain Mike went through the inside of Turn Island and came out at a harbor seal haul out to observe some seals who happened to have some pups with them! We then continued down the channel and as we approached Cattle Pass, with surprisingly calm waters, we saw some sea lions posted up on Whale rocks. Some of these sea lions were busy cooling off in the water and others gnawing at each other and growling at us! We observed them for a while and noticed a massive individual, whose neck alone is as big as some of the other sea lions out there! We got a kick out of watching this big guy try and jump from the water onto the rocks, with no success. Captain Mike had heard some talk about a humpback hanging out around the South end of Lopez, so that's where we went to find it! None, but one lucky guest, on our boat had ever seen a humpback or orcas in the wild before! We were so excited to hopefully find some of these animals out there today. When we came to the South East of Lopez, we started scanning the waters but after a while of nothing coming up, we decided to head further East and just sit in the south entrance of Rosario Strait with a very wide view of the water in front of us. Not one minute had gone by, when we saw the back of a humpback whale surface, and then again but this time it showed us its fluke! We stayed with this whale for a good 15 minutes as it kept taking breaths and then deep dives showing us its fluke a total of 3 times! Captain Mike decided to head up Rosario Strait next to see what we could find towards the West side. The lighting off the coast line of Blakely on the way up the Strait was incredible and I had not seen a more beautiful color water in this area before. As we approached Obstruction Pass, headed towards Orcas Island, we could see some boats ahead. Around the boats, we spotted spouts and a huge dorsal fin; we had orcas! These were a group of transient orcas, 4 of them in total including a huge teenage calf. We stayed with this group of killer whales for quite a while following their traveling pattern and observing them as close as we could within distance regulations. We followed these whales into West Sound and out into the San Juan Channel before heading home to wrap up a perfect whale watching trip!

Mariana, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris