June 15, 2019

Two humpbacks journey through the San Juan Islands

Humpback whales

Laura | Saturday June 15, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 12pm/ 5:30pm

Today was a wonderful day out on the water aboard M/V Sea Lion!  We first found a large congregation of harbor seals hauled out along the rocks of the east side of Flat Top, one of the nearby islands along the San Juan Channel.  Some of these seals were jumping in the water and a few came close by our vessel to check out the passenger!  The seas were so calm today we were able to view a bunch of jellyfish looking down from the rails as the boat slowed down. 

As we all traveled the through swirling currents of surrounding seas, far ahead we saw two tall blows straight ahead along the horizon line.  We cautiously continued our way into an area hosting a pair of humpback whales foraging along Moresby Island!  We were able to appreciate the sounds of their exchanging breaths as they broke the surface of the water with majestic grace, trailing flukes behind as they both went below the surface on foraging dives.  Passengers were able to appreciate their sheer size and power as they moved through the water effortlessly, scanning the water column for potential prey and taking full opportunity of the surrounding fruitful seas.  Humpback whales gain around 12,000 pounds each throughout the summer months, preparing for their winter fast.  Once they leave their northern feeding grounds to head to warm southern waters, these humpbacks will have to wait until the following spring to take that first mouthful of fish for the season. 

As passengers watched these two humpbacks traveling side-by-side we were able to identify these individuals as Stitch and Divot (BCX1057).  Divot is a well-known grandmother, mother to Zepher who has been seen with a calf this year!  Zepher is eight-years old this year and it is great to know she has a calf in tow!  After saying our so-longs to Stitch and Divot we journeyed to Spieden Island where we had fantastic views of bald eagles perched along the tree-tops and soaring overhead.  Wildlife watching is never over because as we were closely approaching Friday Harbor a group of harbor porpoises came by our boat!  We all got awesome looks at their dorsal fins as they enjoyed the nearby white caps from the current. 

We were lucky enough to spend more time with Stitch and Divot on our second trip on M/V Sea Lion today!  This pair continued to forage and search for food all the way by East Point Light.  We were able to get great looks at their backs and their large “humps” as they went down for dives.  The group was also so excited to see numerous harbor porpoises, harbor seals, and bald eagles!  It was such a wonderful day on the water and it was so much fun sharing these amazing animals with everyone!