-Steller sea lions
As we pushed west Captain Michael slowed down and took us through Castle Rock and Swirl Rocks where we found pigeon guillemots, cormorants, and even a black-tailed deer looking down on us from the Lopez Island side.
As we pulled away we were briefly visited by the Halcyon and the Aggergaard family! Nice to see them out enjoying the Salish Sea! We waved, they waved, photos were snapped and then we pulled away to go in search of some large critters out west.
After crossing into Canadian waters we found our first whale of the day, a humpback whale! This whale was on long downtimes but soon after we got on scene it turned and came straight toward us showing off its flukes as it dove under the boat. Wow!
As we were watching the humpback whale another boat found a minke whale and we were able to find it as it circled in among some congregated birds. After getting some great looks at it we headed back to see the humpback a couple more times before we had to start home. On the very last surfacing it arched its back and lifted its flukes high out of the water as if to wave goodbye.
With that we pushed back east and got in another slowdown at Whale Rocks where we saw two mature bald eagles and a large gathering of Steller sea lions. Two juveniles were even mock sparring in the water.
As we skirted the south side of Lopez Island we were in for yet another treat—a tufted puffin! What a cool bird to see!
Next stop was Colville Island where a bunch of harbor seals were hauled out warming up.
The rest of our trip played out the way it started, with sunny skies and calm seas. Mount Baker revealed her summit through the clouds and we got a beautiful lineup of one of the Washington State Ferries beneath her as we cruised back to port. What a gorgeous day out on the Salish Sea!