June 1, 2019

Stitch the Humpback Whale near East Point!

Erin | M/V Sea Lion | Saturday, June 1, 2019 | 12:00 PM

Today was an excellent day out on the water! The afternoon was seeming like it was going to be a beautiful, sunny one, so spirits were high amongst everyone. We left Friday Harbor and travelled north. We saw many harbor porpoises as we travelled north. They were abundant as we made our way toward East Point.

At East Point, we saw evidence of strong tidal currents and upwelling. It was neat to see. Near East Point we got our sights on a humpback whale. The whale was taking longer dives at first, staying under for about five minutes.  The first dive it went on, it showed us the whole underside of its tail. It was basically all black, and it was very beautiful. We were able to identify it as a whale named Stitch, or MMX 0167. There were a couple of other boats in the area, and it surfaced near each of them. Then, we got the show of a lifetime. Stitch surfaced right near the stern of our boat, exhaling powerfully and exciting everyone on board. It then swam underneath our vessel and surfaced again on our starboard side! It was incredible to be able to see all the intricate details of its dorsal side. We were also able to see its 15-foot wide fluke come out of the water right next to our boat as it went down for a dive. It was awe-inspiring!

After getting amazing views of the humpback whale, we went to Patos Island and saw harbor seals hauled out on the beach. It was nice to be able to see different marine mammal species in the lovely Salish Sea today! Until next time, folks!

Naturalist Erin