Gray whale #21
Bald eagles, osprey, harbor seals, brant, red-breasted mergansers, and a red-necked grebe
Wow, what a beautiful day we had! The skies were sunny, the seas were calm, and the temperatures were hot! Capt. Mike started us out with some time viewing two osprey at Jetty Island. The female was at her nest and her mate was eating a fish on a piling nearby. I hope he shared some of his meal with her!? After that we slowed down to look at a bald eagle perched on some drift wood with the Olympic Mountains as a backdrop.
After we reached the open water we slowed down to give a thorough look at one of our regular hot spots, near Hat Island. I just happened to be talking about Mount Baker on the microphone when our first whale of the day surfaced right beneath it! It was gray whale #21. He was very cooperative with us, and Capt. Mike was very good about lining him up with the beautiful backdrop of Mount Baker, and the Cascade Mountains! There was so little wind that we could smell the whale’s stinky breath several times while we visited with him. After lots of time with 21 we decided to peel away and circumnavigate Hat Island, looking north into Saratoga Passage and elsewhere for more whales. We got distracted by a flock of birds gathering at the surface, including rhinoceros auklets, gulls, and the unusual addition of red-brested mergansers. No luck anywhere else, so we headed back to look for gray whale 21 again. It took us a while, but Tim, one of our passengers, spotted a blow, and we were in business again!
Shortly after we cruised up on scene with him again, we spotted a flock of brant geese flying toward us. 21 exhaled right in their path, and the brant completely diverted their flight plan to avoid his stinky breath! What a great day on the water! Naturalist Bart Rulon