Posts Tagged ‘bull kelp’

A Day Filled With Pinnipeds

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Today we were lucky enough to see a variety of pinniped species. Just outside of Friday Harbor was an unusual sight. There was a California sea lion hauled out on a buoy! It was the first time I’ve seen a California sea lion since I started last year! After getting a good look, we made our way to Spieden Island where there was a large group of at least six Steller sea lions were relaxing on the rocks. Along Spieden we spotted mouflon sheep and sika deer, as well as a juvenile bald eagle perched high in a tree and an adult bald eagle on the ground clutching the remains of a fish. We then headed towards Mandarte Island to check out the nesting cormorants and gulls. Then, on our way back though Stuart and John’s Island we spotted several harbor seals swimming through a bed of bull kelp.

Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris

West Side Sunset

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Last evening we headed towards the southern tip of San Juan where Cattle Point Lighthouse is located.  This is our last week of sunset tours and I’m really going to miss the way that lighthouse looks against a setting sun.  That thought was interrupted when we spotted Stellar Sea Lions showing off their large bodies on Whale Rocks.  These sea lions can weigh up to 2200 lbs!  We continued up the west side of San Juan where we encountered the L-pod around False Bay.  The whales were widely spread out, which encouraged us to lower our hydrophone into the water.  We heard a few vocalizations as we spotted whales in every direction.  On our way back to Friday Harbor we saw a Great Blue Heron perched on a forest of Bull Kelp.  Bull Kelp is the fastest growing seaweed in the world.  It can grow 10-12 inches in one day!  If you are ever stranded in the San Juans, you won’t go hungry because the leafy blade of Bull Kelp is edible!  There’s a lot to see out here, and a whole lot to learn.

Bull Kelp



Wave Walking

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

You could not ask for more out of the San Juan Islands than what we got today.  Sun, sea and sightings all wrapped up in one stunningly beautiful package.  The sea was a bit of a surprise today since we endured some bouncing around as we traveled up and around the north and west sides of San Juan Island.  But the orcas were racing along and made for excellent photo specimens, plus the spray in our faces just reminded us of how lucky we were to be out on the water.  When it was time to start back the breezes suddenly stopped and we had wonderfully calm water all the way back to the north end of the island.

Bull Kelp

Just before we departed the scene of the orcas, I took the opportunity of being on the M/V Kittiwake to conduct a class in phycology.  What is phycology you ask?  It is the study of algae.  And, for our purposes, what is algae?  Seaweed!  The M/V Kittiwake happened to sidle up to a detritus line in the water, so I reached over the side and pulled some floating bull kelp, Fucus and eel grass out of the water.  Why are these important you may wonder?  Well, bull kelp forests are foraging sites for harbor seals, Steller’s and California sea lions, and orcas.  Fucus is an integral part of the intertidal zone and tidepool life.  Eel grass is a flowering grass, just like the ones on land, and acts like a nursery for salmon smolt and juvenile crabs.  The smolt actually feed on the crabs, and both salmon and crab fisheries are important economic industries in the U.S.  The guests on the boat were good students and were all willing to participate when I washed some of the bull kelp and handed it around for tasting.  Bull kelp is edible, like many other species of seaweeds, and has higher levels of potassium than bananas.   Plus it is organic!

So, from all of us at San Juan Safaris, to all of you leafy greens lovers out there, thank you and we will…

See You In The Islands!

~Tristen, Naturalist

Our inland arm of the Pacific Ocean…The Puget Sound

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

The Puget Sound is a very biologically diverse inland sea. We have many species of marine mammals, birds, invertebrates, algae and more.

The most popular marine mammal is the orca, which is actually the largest member of the dolphin family. Today’s safari included lots of bald eagles, porpoises, seals and bull kelp (brown algae).

Bull kelp is very interesting and important to our ecosystem. It is a primary producer, using the sunlight to grow and ends up feeding many organisms. Bull kelp is also an important habitat to many animals as well. This brown algae has been known to grow 200 feet in one summer, it is very productive.

Thank You,

Naturalist Jeannette
Orca Whales and Wildlife Are Our Only Business. ©