Captain Mike, Andrew and myself left our Friday Harbor location today and headed south through the San Juan Channel and into Cattle Pass where we hoped to encounter some great whale activity. Along the way we stopped to say “hello” to my favorite small critters that are known to inhabit the Salish Sea: Harbor Seals. The harbor seals thrive on our large tidal difference here which create the upwellings they navigate through to hunt. Their whiskers on the front of their face are specially designed to help them hunt; they have nerve endings in them! They will use their large whiskers as “feelers” to explore anything foreign or unfamiliar. It’s always fun to see our seals forging in the water.
We cursed through Cattle pass and encountered a Minke whale foraging off the coast of False Bay. Minke whales are actually the smallest whale in the baleen family averaging a size of 25-30 feet long (about the size of an Orca). We hung out with our Minke friend for a while and enjoyed some great views during that time.
We also saw many Harbor Porpoise on the South side of San Juan Island in the Haro Straight. I always love it when we are able to shut our motor off and listen to the blow of the marine wildlife we are seeing. In the case of the Harbor Porpoise, they are actually quite shy; therefore, shutting our boat off give’s us a better chance of experiencing these animals and their behavior.
While we didn’t see our famous killer whales today, we saw a lot of wildlife and had a great day on the water! Just yesterday we were able to watch our killer whales but they can travel up to 100 miles in a day and were gone for our tour. We had lots of children on board today, their extra enthusiasm about all things small and large was both invigorating and helpful while pointing out all of the other wildlife to be seen in the San Juan Islands! All in all, we had a great day on the water!
Heather, Naturalist, Sea Lion