September 19, 2019

Whales, More Whales, and a Northern Fur Seal!

Bigg's Killer Whales in San Juan Channel

Olivia | September 19th, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00pm

Today was such a treat all the way around. As Captain Erick, Co-Naturalist Sarah and I started heading north through the San Juan Channel with our passengers, we stumbled upon a rare surprise just south of Flattop Island- a Northern Fur Seal! We rarely get fur seals in our waters; in fact, this was Sarah’s first time in her six years of working here and Erick has only seen them once down in the Puget Sound. After taking in the excitement of seeing such a thrilling Pinniped, we continued heading northwest passing heaps of Harbor Porpoises all along the route.

When weaving through the Cactus Islands and the south side of Stuart around Turn Point Lighthouse, we drifted further by Moresby Island to spy an ocean giant. Technically this Humpback Whale was actually a very small, young baleen whale that was feeding continuously all along the surface. Because of this, we were able to see lots of looks very consistently, and only seeing the fluke twice for two deeper dives munching away.

We spent quite a bit of time with this whale and decided to turn south back towards Friday Harbor. Reaching the southern side of Spieden Island, we all realized its finally getting greener with the amount of rain we have had in the past few weeks! After briefly discussing Mouflon Sheep and the unique history of this island, TO OUR SURPRISE AGAIN, we saw Bigg’s Killer Whales! One of our favorite Transient Orca families, the T18/T19’s was milling about just north of Roche Harbor. This was incredible and proving that you never know at any point in time what will swim into our waters.