June 27, 2009

A Super Safari!

What a day! There were Orca families zooming everywhere with breaches, tail slaps and spyhops galore. We saw auklets and harbor seals and even a bald eaglet in the nest with his parents standing guard in nearby trees. The sun was out and the waters were calm and our guests on the MV Kittiwake could not have been more fun.

Capt. Craig and I took a lively group of visitors through Friday Harbor and down the east side of San Juan Island. Just past Turn Island we stopped to see some harbor seals hauled out on the rocks in the sun and a bald eagle sitting on the very top of a tree causing it to bend over with the bird's weight. We then rode the ebbing tide down San Juan Channel past Griffin Bay and out Cattle Pass. A quick left turn at the southwest corner of Lopez Island and there were the whales.

J1 "Ruffles" along with the rest of his family group went racing past us in a very tight formation and across the opening to Cattle Pass. Once on the other side they slowed down, probably because they were no longer fighting the currents. We could see numerous other family groups in the distance all headed west along the south ends of Lopez and San Juan Islands. They were swimming so fast that we say porpoising and white wave caps each time that the Orcas returned to the water. One individual did a fabulous bellyroll and there was so much tail waving and tail slapping going on I lost track of who was doing what.

After leaving what appeared to be a mix of Js, Ks and maybe Ls we then cruised Long Island and found the mated pair of bald eagles there and then motored over to the coastline of Lopez Island to check out a nest and chick that our sister boat, the MV Sea Lion, had alerted us to. Sure enough the adults could be seen sitting in nearby snags and the eaglet was proudly standing up in the nest surveying his domain. It was very cool.

Today really showcased what an awesome job this is and how fabulous it is to be here in the San Juan Islands. Neither I nor our guests could have asked for anything better. So, from all of us here at San Juan Safaris to all of you adventurers out there, thank you and we will...

See You In The Islands!
~Tristen, Naturalist

Orca Whales and Wildlife Are Our Only Business. ©