July 23, 2010

Another sunny day in the San Juans! Our excitement was high as we embarked upon our journey, hearing that there were whales both north and west of San Juan Island! As we headed north Captain Pete made the decision maintain our direction so that we could meet up with some residents near the Pender islands. It was J pod, headed down from Point Roberts – hopefully having found lots of salmon! First to pass us was Slick (J-16) and her oldest son Mike (J-26). Closer to shore was Shachi (J-19) Speiden (J-8) who can not only be identified by her saddle and the distinctive notch at the base of her dorsal, but also by the “wheezing” sound she makes when breathing! Next up came a rambunctious group closer to shore with several active juveniles! The were breaching, and splashing around like crazy! It’s awe-inspiring to see a large adult leap from the water, but when we get to see the youngsters do it, it brings about a feeling of fun and excitement to all our guests. We were so caught up in watching them, we didn’t even notice that Mike had doubled back for another pass along side us, as well as his younger brother Keet (J-33). I imagine Slick’s youngest, three year old Echo (J-42) was among the active calves. I’ve been noticing this year that she’s a very outgoing calf, with lots of energy just waiting to burst out of her! Our guests were intrigued by the idea that like human children, some are shy, while others (like Echo!) are more outgoing.

The whales may be the rock stars, but we love showing our guests our other amazing wildlife as well! On our way back, we stopped by Gull Rock, and saw a couple mature bald eagles, as well as a juvenile all standing on the rock. Along the water’s edge was a few harbor seals as well. The seals are right in the middle of their “pupping season” so we got out our binoculars and tried to pick out the small round babies. Along with the seals and eagles we also spotted some harbor porpoise! Thanks to our great guests for making this a unique, and as always – FUN – day on the water!

Heather Hill

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