May 29, 2021

Three Humpback Whales on the Canadian Border!

Abby | Sea Lion | 5/29/2021

We set out on M/V Sea Lion. Or at least, we tried. At the lowest tide of the year (or more notably, the past few years), we began our reverse into some shallow water. With the wake from the ferry and hardly any depth, we motored forward and tried again. This time, Captain Pete reversed almost symphonically, as the crowd on the stern cheered in joy that the ferry wake had ceased long enough for us to pull out of the harbor.

We made a beeline for the Canadian border, North through San Juan Channel, past Waldron Island, and up to Patos Lighthouse. Words of the humpback whale, Big Mamma, rang in our ears. She was heading towards Canadian waters; waters in which we are currently restricted due to border closure.  

Massive lion’s mane jellyfish dotted the blue-green waters of the Salish Sea while harbor porpoises appeared in elusive shoals. We were on a mission.

Finally, there she was, in all her Big Mamma glory! We watched from a distance for a short while while she sawm into Canada. Don’t whales know those waters are closed right now?! Apparently they aren’t limited by international boundaries…

As we turned around and headed back into the safety of domestic territory, a blow. Another blow. Two more humpback whales, right at our 12-o’clock. It was Divot and her calf, making some beautiful surface displays, including some sincere nuzzling and a pec slap. We watched in awe, sunlight glistening along the plume of breath, dazzling even the barnacles attached to their rostrums.

We cut the engine to hear a final breath, and turned on our merry way as the sun crept down on the horizon, and upon entering Friday Harbor, a welcome sight; high tide.