Humpday in the San Juan Islands!!!

Anacortes

Highlights:

Humpback showing flukes in Rosario strait
Multiple sea birds the entire trip
Transient orcas at Danger shoal
Bald eagle on return trip
Harbor porpoise feeding like crazy outside Thatcher pass

Naturalist log

The winds that had come in the night before were gone and the sun was sitting high above the marina casting down quite a bit of heat. A light breeze blew through the air and the passengers all quickly boarded the IE3 after hearing from the crew. Once everyone was aboard captain Michael fired up the engines and pulled the boat away from the dock. The waters that lay ahead were calm and Mount Baker stood high in the distance like a quiet sentinel, gazing down upon all who would venture into the Salish sea and the San Juan islands.

As the IE3 left Guemes channel and began crossing Rosario strait captain Michael made a decision to head north up the straight to see what might be hiding there. Suddenly a sharp eyed passenger spotted an exhalation in the distance along the shore of Blakely island and with that the IE3 homed in on the whale. It turned out to be a smaller humpback whale!!!! Smaller of course only in relative terms as this was by no means a small animal. It was headed north up Rosario taking shorter deep dives and even occasionally showing its tail. At one point it even got close to the boat giving all the passengers on board some very amazing looks!!!

After more boats arrived on scene to track the animal the IE3 headed out. Captain Michael took the boat through Peavine pass. The pass was filled with pigeon guillemots buzzing around the surface and cannonballing into the water right and left. Behind the IE3 Mount Baker peaked out from around Lummi island and afforded the passengers on board a really excellent photo opportunity which is hard to get any where else. Suddenly a harbor seal popped up next to the boat swimming right along side of it and checking out all the people that were now in aww of how cute the seal was.

The IE3 continued west to Danger shoal where captain Michael was able to pick up a pod of transient killer whales. They had swam up the west side of San Juan island and were heading into Spieden channel right as the IE3 arrived. The orcas had some longer down times but were coming out of the water quite consistently. Soon the whale patience paid off and a mom and young calf passed under the IE3 and surfaced just off the port side of the boat!!!! It was so awesome to see this group, there was even a large male with a massive dorsal fin, who after a while of being away from the group, joined back up with them!!!!

The IE3 enjoyed some great looks at the whales before turning back east to return home. As the went captain Michael took the IE3 through Wasp pass where he spotted an osprey high in a nest!!!! A sharp eyed passenger then spotted a bald eagle in a tree just across from Crane island. Coming out of Wasp pass the boat bumped around and continued on its way home, but not before captain Michael spotted one more eagle perched high on a pine tree on the edge of Broken point!!!

It was great day and an immensely fun time getting a double header with both a humpback and orcas out in the San Juans!!!

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