Posts Tagged ‘San Juan Safaris’

Granny and her family!

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Yesterday afternoon we left Friday harbor and headed south towards reports of whales on the South side of San Juan Island.  On our way down to that area we stopped to look at some huge stellar sea lions.  Did you know that male stellar sea lions get up to 2,000 pounds?  Once we got a good look at those sea lions we headed around the south side of San Juan Island and came across the J2′s.  The J2′s are Granny’s family and all of her living descendants.  The group includes J2 (Granny), her granddaughter J14 (Samish), her great-granddaughters J37 (Hy’Shqa), J45 (Se-Yi’-Chn), and her great-great-grandson J49 (T’ilem I’nges).  We also were surprised by some pacific white sided dolphins as well!  The dolphins were seen riding in our boats wake and leaping out of the water frequently!  We enjoyed watching J2 and her family interact and forage for the day.  When the day started out we had quite a bit of fog in the area but thankfully in burned up and gave us a great afternoon out on the water.

Naturalist Rachel

M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris

Rainy Day With Whales

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Today we left Friday harbor and headed North towards East Point.  On the way North we stopped at Flattop Island and found some harbor seals and two bald eagles.  One eagle was an adult another was a juvenile that was feeding on a fish.  We continued towards to whales.  We found the whales a little South of East Point.  The first whale we saw was J2 (Granny) and she gave us a great look!  Granny is estimated to be the oldest orca in the world at 103 years old! We then watched L87 (Onyx) go by.  Onyx was adopted by Granny in 2010 when his mother passed away and is now always seen traveling with her.  We were also passed by the rest of the J2′s (Granny’s family) include little J49 (T’ilem I’nges) who was born in 2012.  We were then passed by J16 (Slick) and her son J26 (Mike), and then shortly after the rest of the J16′s, J36 (Alki) and J42 (Echo).  Both passed by us while porpoising which was pretty awesome to see.  Thankfully the whales don’t care about rain so we managed to get some great looks at them!

Naturalist Rachel

M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris

Whales out East

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Today we left Friday harbor and headed South through San Juan Channel and then East towards Anacortes.  When we got into San Juan Channel we came across a minke whale, which made for a nice surprise! We watched the minke whale and then continued heading South.  We went through cattle pass and stopped at the whale rocks to look at some large stellar sea lions.  We then headed East and found the J16′s.  The J16′s consist of J16 (Slick) and her three offspring J26 (Mike), J36 (Alki) and J42 (Echo).  We enjoyed watching the family hunting salmon and got to see some fun behaviors as well.  We watched Mike and Echo rolling on each other for a bit and saw Alki breach twice!  On the way home we stopped by iceberg point and saw three tufted puffins!  Tufted puffins are the largest species of puffin and area a rare surprise to see in this area.  We had a beautiful sunset this evening and had great lighting for photographs.  It was a great evening and we enjoyed every minute of our time on the water.

Naturalist Rachel

M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris

K Pod at Turn Point!

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

We left Friday Harbor yesterday with reports of resident orcas heading North by Stewart Island.  We decided to meet the whales at Turn point and headed the back way behind Spieden Island.  We met the whales at Turn Point and we were pleasantly surprised to see all of Kpod grouped together in a small area.  Every member of Kpod was there with the exception of K21 (Cappuccino), which includes a total of 18 whales! K21 generally travels with different southern resident families from J and L pod.  We watched the K pod members constantly breathing in synchronization!  It was a really great experience to see a whole pod of the southern resident community in such close quarters.  On our way back to Friday harbor we went to the cactus islands and saw quite a few harbor seals swimming around as well as some great looks at about 4 bald eagles.  Including a bald eagle that took off in flight!  All in all it was an absolutely perfect day out on the water and I don’t think our guests could have had a better trip.

Naturalist Rachel

M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris

Transients on the kill!

Monday, August 4th, 2014

We left Friday Harbor in preparation for a great trip! We headed North towards East point with reports of transient in the area.  We have seen a lot of transients in the area lately due to the seal pupping season.  Harbor seals make up about 60% of transient orcas diet that come into this area.  We came across the T37′s around Sucia island.  We watched the transients hunting around Sucia Island for quite some time and even saw a few kills! We headed back to Friday harbor with a beautiful trip under our belt!

Naturalist Rachel

M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris

Transients Galore!

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Today we left Friday Harbor with reports of transients ours by Waldron Island.  Transient orca are the marine mammal eating ecotype of orca that we see in this area.  On the way to the orca reports we came across a few harbor porpoise.  We pulled up to the area where the 6 transient orcas were reported to be and immediately saw a lone harbor seal in the area.  We watched the harbor seal go under the water and then saw the transient orcas dive as well.  After they spent a few minutes under the water the orcas resurfaced with the dead seal in their mouth.  It was as if the orcas were showing our boat that they had just killed the seal!  After the display of their meal they then became very surface active and started tail slapping and breaching all over the place!  After watching the feeding celebration we headed towards another group of 3 transients in Presidents Channel.  There was a juvenile in the group of transients at presidents channel who was being very playful and breaching frequently.  As a naturalist I can safely say that this was the best day I have had on the water to date!

Naturalist Rachel

M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris

Sunny Sunday with WHALES!

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

Today Captain Mike, Aimee and I started the day off with a lively charter out of Roche Harbor! We brought the M/V Sea Lion up from Friday Harbor to pick up a wonderful group. After a couple of days of no killer whales, it was awesome to see the Residents back in the Salish Sea. Oftentimes guests ask us when the whales will get to a certain area at a certain time, and no one can really answer that! The whales don’t work on the same time frame as we do, they work completely on salmon time! Residents eat only salmon and their movements are completely dictated by the presence, absence and movements of the salmon. We got to see many whales frolicking around Boundary Pass today, but most notably the K13 matriline and for the first time this season the L54s!!! We had a blast out on the water with such a festive group of whales and people!

Sarah, M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris Whale Watching

Residents in the Strait of Juan De Fuca!

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

This evening we headed out towards Victoria to see some reported resident orcas in the area.  We headed out and saw some harbor seals as well as a bald eagle in Cattle Pass.  We headed around the South side of San Juan Island.  We came upon the resident orcas near Victoria where we saw part of K pod!  Specifically we were looking at the K13′s with are made up of K13 (Skagit), her offspring and her grand-offspring.  This immediate family is made up of 7 different individual whales.  We watched them traveling towards San Juan Island and displaying some surface activity as well.  We saw a few spyhops while watching the K13′s, which is personally my favorite surface behavior!  After watching the whales for a while we headed back towards Friday Harbor.  On the way back we stopped at an area called the Whale Rocks where we saw a large male stellar sea lion.  A fully grown male stellar sea lion can weigh up to 2000 pounds!  It was a beautiful evening out on the water and we really enjoyed seeing the guests excitement while watching the southern resident orcas.

Naturalist Rachel

M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris

Humpback Party!

Friday, July 25th, 2014

This evening we left Friday Harbor with reports of humpbacks down by Victoria.  We headed down San Juan Channel into the Strait of Juan De Fuca.  On the way out we saw some harbor seals as well as some cormorants.  Cormorants are a diving species of bird that we see in this area.  They actually have the ability to dive over 100 feet in order to catch fish.  We traveled quite a distance but we then found a large group of humpbacks!  We were watching a group of 8 humpback whales including a mother and calf pair.  Generally baleen whales are considered solitary so it was truly a special sight to see so many humpbacks grouped together.  We watched the humpbacks for a while and then headed back towards Friday Harbor.  On the way back we got to see a beautiful sunset!  It was really a special evening out on the water.

Naturalist Rachel

M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris

Wonderful Day On the Water!

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Today we left Friday Harbor and headed South toward Cattle Point.  On the way to the area where the whale reports were we spotted some harbor seals with their pups and  a bald eagle.  We went through Cattle Pass and headed East to the southern side of Lopez Island.  Once we got to Iceberg Island we found the J17′s which include Princess Angeline and all of her offspring.  Traveling with the J17′s was K21 (Cappuccin).  We parked ourselves a respectful distance from the whale and allowed them to travel West past us as we watched them with our motor off.  We also got passed by the J22′s, better known as the cookie clan!  The whales were all headed West toward Salmon Bank.  We followed the whales to the South side of San Juan Island and then they began to relax and start milling around the area.  We saw some surface activity as well include tail slapping, cartwheels and breaching!  We then headed back to Friday Harbor and on the way we saw a juvenile bald eagle in flight.  Juvenile bald eagles commonly get confused with golden eagles due to their brown coloration.  It takes about 4-5 years for an eagle to get the adult plumage, consisting of the white head and tail feathers.  We had a perfect day for photography on the water.  There was a slight overcast and calm waters allowing for great quality pictures.  Our guests enjoyed their time on the water almost as much as we enjoyed having them!

Naturalist Rachel

M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris