September 3

What a great day to be out on the water with our amazing marine neighbors! I was excited to hear our Southern Resident Community was back in town; we’ve been visiting with the mammal-eating “transients” which is always fun, though our fish-eating “residents” feel more like close friends or family, so it’s great to have them back in town! And what a great sunny day for a boat ride! As we headed to the south end of SJI, we were fortunate to see a great variety of marine life. We spotted several harbor seals, including one eating a salmon, along with harbor porpoise, a bald eagle, and a Steller sea lion! We met up with residents who were reportedly spread out from Lime Kiln to the south end of the island. The whales were pretty far offshore, I wondered if this had anything to do with the large amounts of fishing boats along the shore. As we were watching, two whales surfaced in front of us, headed right for our bow! Captain Pete immediately turned off the engine, and we scanned the water in silence, wondering where they might surface. They had split directions, so K26 Lobo surfaced right along our starboard side, while the other female surfaced on our port side. How amazing to see Lobo so close! It’s difficult to get a feel for just how big they are when watching them, but the tip of Lobo’s dorsal fin being at eye level with our guests (and still growing!) really helped to put it in perspective! We moved along and met up with another group of orcas, and enjoyed watching them for a while. A female and a calf surfaced towards our stern, and while the angle and sunlight made it a bit tricky to ID the two, it appears they were L83 Moonlight and her calf L110 Midnight, her three year old son. The seas started to pick up a bit – those of us on the bow caught a wave! I guess you can’t see the whales up close without getting a little wet! Everyone was in great spirits thanks to the whales, and it was like a fun “interactive” tour! As we headed back in to gentler water, we stopped by Whale Rocks to watch the Steller sea lions hauled out. Amazing to not only see 11 foot long sea lions, but to hear them roaring at each other as well! Most of these males are likely bachelors who weren’t strong enough to hold down a territory and have females to mate with, suppose I’d be a bit grumpy too! Heading back to Friday Harbor we again saw several harbor porpoise, and lots of common murres in their dramatic black and white breeding colors. They’re like the penguins of the north! As we got back to the dock we all agreed, this was definitely a great day to be on the water in the Salish Sea!

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We have not finalized our 2021 trip dates yet: please contact us with your desired trip dates so we can work to accommodate your request.