October 1, 2012

Surf's Up, Dall's!

We found transients again today! They were nearly in the same area as they were 2 days ago, but this time it was a different group. We encountered them off Portland Island, just outside of Sydney, British Columbia. When we left them near Coal Island (48°41.83N, 123°22.19W), they were still traveling south. At first the animals were breaching and churning the surface of the water. At one point we saw the underside of a “sprouter” (pubescent) male as he rolled around on the surface. They settled down as the BC ferry blew by within 200 yards from the group. The light was perfect for photography, especially when the sun silhouetted their tall, misty blows as they prepared for a dive. The smoke from the forest fires has lifted at last, revealing stunningly clear vistas in all directions. It’s a perfect time to be wildlife watching in the San Juans. On top of the great weather and smaller crowds, whales are still around, Steller’s sea lions and Dall’s Porpoises can be found in greater numbers, and many new species of birds are traveling through on their southerly migration. Watching orcas is always a pleasure, but the highlight of the trip today came when a small group of Dall’s Porpoises surfed our bow wake right alongside the boat. They’re so fast!

Naturalist Andrew, San Juan Safaris