May 20, 2017

Sunset Tours are Back for the Season! From Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

It's finally arrived, our first official start-of-the-season sunset Whale Watch and Wildlife Tour! With the week preceding us featuring gray skies and chilly northwest temperatures, today provided us with a much-needed temperate evening to usher in the summer season here in the San Juans. Clear skies, glassy-calm waters, and the best visibility of all of our surrounding mountain ranges yet, all this perfect sunset tour needed was some spectacular wildlife.

We headed out of the dock with hopeful reports of two humpback whales milling off of East Point at the northern end of the San Juan Islands. As we motored past island after island, each sporting fresh green growth and a surplus of cedars and pines, we were struck by the fabulous views off of our bow, including a significant portion of the greater Vancouver skyline, the Cascades, and the looming Mount Baker. We were soon distracted by a chorus of sea lions and paused at Boiling Reef to take a look. As we were pulling up, we noticed that the rocky island also hosted a dozen or so harbor seals and one stoic bald eagle. We observed this perfect example of cohabitation for a moment before resuming our journey in search of whales.

Finally, we pulled up to the area where two humpbacks were last reported. After quietly observing the scene for a moment or two, we were surprised by the pair suddenly surfacing just a few hundered yards from our bow! We watched this pair surface and dive about a dozen times, always syncronized or nearly-syncronized, breathing powerful breaths in unison and fluking out in unison, displaying their strikingly different flukes. They were quickly identified as whales named Divot and Split Fin, a pair regularly seen traveling and feeding together in the Salish Sea this season. After observing fluke out dive after fluke out dive, we decided it was time to motor back home. We took President's Channel on our way back for a change of scenery, arriving in Friday Harbor only 25 minutes before sundown.