May 29, 2009

Thar She Blows!

It was all sunshine and smiles again today on the MV Sea Lion as Capt. Nancy took Ashley, a great group of guests and me over to Whidbey Island for some more Gray Whale watching. As almost always there was a little bit of chop to the water as we motored through Cattle Pass, but it was smooth sailing after that. We got great looks at Mt. Baker and the Olympic Peninsula, but clouds to the South obscured Mt. Rainier today. The last few days have definitely lent credence to the old mariner's rule that if you can see Mt. Baker without any clouds in front of it there will be no rain for 24 hours.

The trip over to Whidbey Island gave Ashley and I a great chance to chat with our guests about where they were from and what wonderful things they have been doing here in the Pacific Northwest. As soon as the whale was spotted though everyone was down to business. The gray today seemed to be the same one that we watched yesterday, but it was a little further South of the naval air station and moving more quickly. We were only treated to one or two breaths before each dive and during the last dive while we were on scene the tricky behemoth changed direction underwater and resurfaced well North of us.

We decided that that was our cue to head back to San Juan Island, so Capt. Nancy took us back across the Strait of Juan de Fuca for a trip along Lopez Island and up San Juan Channel. As we were heading towards home off in the distance we caught sight of the beautiful schooner, or tall ship, Zodiac. It is a 136 ft. sailing vessel with several masts and even more sails. Ashley regaled us all with the history of this magnificent ship and the fact that it is the largest working vessel on the West coast of the U.S. Our perfect day was wrapped up with lots of views of Harbor Seals and seabirds, like gulls and cormorants, around Whale Rocks and Goose Island, and a majestic pair of Bald Eagles sitting side-by-side in a tree top on Long Island.

It was another fabulous day with a great boatload of guests. So, from all of us here at San Juan Safaris to all of you who make our job a delight, thank you and we will...

See You In The Islands!
~Tristen, Naturalist

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