June 15, 2017

Whales and Weather - A Gnarly Adventure Day!

Lauren Fritz, M/V Sea Lion, 6/15/17, 1:30 pm Tour

Wow! Today was a true PNW day, with blustery winds and scattered rainshowers. Lucky for those of us on the 1:30 whale watch tour, M/V Sea Lion was well prepared to take on some rough waters. Tucked away and cozy in our cabin, we headed out of Friday Harbor with orcas on our mind. Transients had been spotted along the northeast side of Orcas Island, by Sucia and Patos Island. We were true mariners today! It was wet, but we had so much fun watching the waves splash the sides of the boat as we cruised through the very scenic President's Channel. We even had a couple on board who had gotten engaged on this very boat last year - they returned to the San Juans to celebrate their honeymoon! What a treat.

Spirits were kept high through the cold weather by the amazing sightings we had of a very large group of Transients. It appeared that a few different family pods had come together for some socializing and traveling. They even surprised us by coming a mere 30 yards from our boat! We could see even the tiniest details on their dorsal fins and saddle patches as the zoomed by. They abruptly changed directions after a few of them checked us out and started porpoising in a northerly direction. I really mean it, these guys were practically flying. Porpoising is such a cool behavior to see because it really allows these orcas to pick up speed and cruise through the water. They can thank their strong caudal peduncle, or tail, muscles for that.

We had a beautiful forty minutes with these animals before we braved the choppy waters back to the harbor. It was so much fun! Rain, wind, and rough seas wouldn't keep the smiles away as we marveled at the amazing animals we had just seen. Every day is always an adventure out here, and today felt like a real day at sea. I'm glad we could share it with so many amazing folks! Thanks to those of us who joined us today. If you haven't been out with us yet, we'd love to have you. Check out our website and book your tour today, departing daily throughout the summer!

Lauren Fritz, Whale Watch Naturalist, San Juan Safaris