July 18, 2012

Wildlife Galore

We had a very exciting and full-of-wildlife day! We departed Friday Harbor heading north into Canadian waters. Before seeing the main event (killer whales) we spotted about five or six harbor porpoise just north of San Juan Channel. Not long after we saw one dorsal fin, then another, then three more! There were about eight to ten southern resident killer whales, traveling close to each other. They were moving north along Pender Island (48º 36.54’N 123º 04.94’W). We watched as three whales spy-hopped, one after another, followed by a full, body out of the water, breach! The whales then moved close to shore, slowly diving and surfacing. In this group naturalist Jenny and I were able to identify members from both J and L pods, including L-72 Racer, J-27 Blackberry, J-28 Polaris, L-25 Ocean Sun.

After watching the whales, we motored around Stuart Island and spotted a few nesting cormorants on the rocky cliff near Turn Point. Also included in our trip home was a great look of Spieden Island where the non-native, but oh so cool muflon sheep and fallow deer were grazing, bald eagles were flying over the island and perched in a few trees, and eight harbor seals were hauled out of the water near the shore, including three mother pup pairs! Finally, just before getting back into Friday Harbor, a guest spotted another bald eagle. Definitely not our average Wednesday out on the water!

Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris