Posts Tagged ‘whale watching tour’
Herb Hartman, photographer, has gone out whale watching with us so many times that he is considered an honorary staff member.
Here are photos from his two tours, one at 1:30 and one at 5:30 from August 13, 2012.
Although our Southern Resident Killer Whales were nowhere to be found today, we did have luck finding Minke Whales. Not just one, but two (maybe even 3!) Minkes were in the Salmon Banks area, on the south side of San Juan Island (48°25.33’N, 122°59.94’W). Just rounding the corner out of Friday Harbor, a Bald Eagle majestically perched at the top of a fir on Turn Island. On the way out of San Juan Channel, eight Stellar Sea Lions sunned themselves on Whale Rocks, while young Harbor Seal pups seemed to be everyone in the water. On Goose Island, Glaucous Winged Gull chicks still covered the east side of the rocks, while Cormorants sunned themselves near the water’s edge. Along with the wild life viewing, today’s sunny weather, and an exciting current racing with the flood tide through Cattle Pass, it was another excellent day on the water!
What an incredible sight last night south of Victoria. Tangerine orange sunset and TWO humpbacks feeding in synchronization…they could have won a gold medal for synchronized swimming! These massive baleen whales were lunging for schooling fish and plankton. We could see their throat pleats stretch as they swallowed large quantities of food. Small fish were leaping out of the water in attempts to escape. Guests had incredible photos of flukes and flippers. It was a 50 mile round-trip and worth the travel time! Who says you have to go all the way to Maui to see the humpbacks!
SJS Naturalist Jenny
On last night’s sunset cruise we caught up with two groups of about 20+ Southern Resident Killer Whales headed south in Rosario Strait between Cypress and Blakely Island (48°34.46N, 123°46.05W). They hadn’t gone far since the greeting ceremony earlier that day, but you could tell the excitement had worn on them. They appeared to be resting, moving at a steady pace in unison, only coming up for 3-5 breaths before taking long dives.
From what we had identified, it was members of L-pod including Onyx (L87), Gaia (L78), and Crewser (L92). We watched them rest for a while, but they must have sensed our curiosity because eventually they spruced up, spyhopping, swimming on their sides, waving their pectoral fins, and lobtailling.
The setting couldn’t have been more perfect to embrace these animals. With Mt. Baker glowing in the background, the sun setting, and only 2 other boats around, it really felt like it was just us and them.
Naturalist Tara, San Juan Safaris
See the blog from April 27, 2012
Minke whales are one of the most underrated cetacean species. No one ever says “let’s go whale watching for minke’s.” But if you’ve had the opportunity to actually see a minke whale, you’d think they were not only beautiful animals, but pretty darn cool as well.
Well today we had that opportunity! We left Friday Harbor headed south towards Hine Bank. It was absolutely beautiful! Warm, sunny, and the ocean surface was as smooth as glass. Along the way we were able to see a large group of harbor seals hauled out on a rocky island and a few harbor porpoises. As we reached Hine Bank, coordinates 48 degrees 20.80 minutes N, 123 degrees 04.089 minutes W, we slowed to almost a stop. Minke whales are difficult to spot because they have a low blow, a small dorsal fin, and if there are waves they tend to block our view. But, we definitely had no trouble today as a minke surfaced right ahead of our boat! And because the water was so flat we saw more of the body than I’d ever seen before.
We spent some time watching that lone minke surface and dive methodically around our boat before heading back towards Salmon Bank. Again, it didn’t take very long before we spotted two more minke whales! (Coordinates 48 degrees 24.53 minutes N, 122 degrees 59.06 minutes W). Their blows were audible and their smooth, rounded backs sliced through the glassy water again and again, keeping us mesmerized.
Heading back to San Juan Island gave us more wildlife viewing opportunities. Before docking we saw a lone Steller sea lion hauled out on whale rocks, and finally a beautiful bald eagle perched on top of Long Island that took flight just as we were pulling away. It was a truly amazing day!
Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris
Leaving Friday Harbor under solid grey skies, a damp drizzle, no wind, very calm seas, and a last minute report that Transient Orcas were on the west side of San Juan Island, we headed north and quickly made our way to the west side via Spieden Channel in anticipation of running into the northern-bound whales.
It wasn’t until Pile Point though, before we caught up with 3 of the T-100’s, including T101 and T102 (48°28’N, 123°05’W), traveling south from Pile Point off the west side of San Juan Island. Another group of Transients were reported behind us (6 or 7). We stayed with the T-100’s till the Salmon Banks buoy before heading towards Cattle Pass and home. A stop at Whale Rocks gave us great viewing of hauled out Stellar Sea lions covering one end, while several more milled about in the water. And, just like yesterday, we found several groups of Harbor Porpoises foraging in San Juan Channel, between Lopez Island and Turn Island. It was also a great day for viewing Bald Eagles. We found them perched in tree tops, posed on the top of rocks, and even one sitting on a rocky beach on the north end of San Juan Island.
Another perfect day in the Northwest!
Naturalist Shelly and Captain Mike
We will be going out on Saturday the 14th and Sunday the 15 again at 12 noon. Saturday is already almost full and Sunday still has space. Call now 800 450 6858 or use our online secure reservation system. https://secure40.securewebsession.com/sanjuansafaris.com/reservations_whale.html