May 8, 2019

Two Grey Whales! An Unusual sighting of two feeding Grey Whales near the San Juan Islands

Grey Whale

Erick | Wednesday, May 8, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00

 

Today we were lucky enough to get another warm sunny day in the San Juan Islands. Captain Gabe and I took out a group of lovely folks to go search for some local wildlife. We started by going south through San Juan Channel and then east towards Whidbey Island. This shoreline for the past couple of days has hosted a few Grey Whales so were going to search the areas along the way there as well as stop by and look to see if those Grey Whales were hanging around. We don’t often get to see Grey Whales in this area. The ones that have been regularly visiting the Puget Sound Area usually go to the southern and eastern sides of Whidbey Island to feed. As we approached the Whidbey shoreline we saw two blows! We went to the first one and found a young Grey Whale. This one was still a little small, in the 20-foot range and was making circles as it fed in 20 feet of water. Grey Whales are baleen whales that filter feed using baleen like all baleen whales but they are unique because they scoop mud and silt off the bottoms and filter benthic food out of the sediment. We got some great looks as this one made tiny circles and ate lots of the food leaving silty trails behind. We next went a little bit south and saw another blow! This one belonged to an adult Grey Whale! This one was quite a bit bigger, in the 30-40ish foot range and was also feeding. It looked like this one was in a similar amount of water as the other one so when it went down to scoop mud it showed the left side of its fluke out of the water. Grey Whales always scoop with one predominant side and it looked like this one preferred its right side. We hope these two stick around and are finding plenty of food. Since these two didn’t look like any others previously identified in the Puget Sound area they are probably new to the area and just happened by this new feeding area! After getting a few more great views of the adult Grey Whale we headed west again. We made a stop at Whale Rocks and saw around 40 Steller Sea Lions tanning themselves on the rocks as the crazy currents swirled by. Here we also saw quite a few Harbor Seals and a juvenile Bald Eagles perched. What another amazing day out here. It is never the same out here and it is always super interesting to see how each day is different and what new fun animals we find! Whale folks, until next time!

 

Erick