Our 5:30 trip on the M/V Sea Lion from Friday Harbor was a wonderful cruise into the Canadian Gulf Islands to see a humpback whale. We experienced extraordinarily smoky conditions from the wildfires burning in British Columbia that created interesting light effects in the islands. We are seeing no lack of wildlife sightings with these atmospheric conditions!
I love sunset tours this time of year, because we truly get a sunset out on the water! On our evening whale watches earlier in the summer months our days are so long that we get a “golden hour” of beautiful light of which photographers are so fond while we are out on the water. This time of year we truly get the sunset colors while we are out looking at wildlife. With the smoke in our skies we are getting even crazier colors from the sun!
As we travelled north we got wonderful sweeping views of wide-open Boundary Pass. Captain Pete steered the M/V Sea Lion into Swanson Channel, he was on the search for a humpback whale that had been spotted earlier in the afternoon. The whale had travelled about seven miles farther north than where we had found it earlier in the day. We got amazing views of this unidentified humpback as it fluked up, bringing its huge tail to the surface as it dove.
The whale traveled from Beaver Point out into the middle of Swanson Channel, where it started to get surface active! We saw the whale peduncle throwing, or cartwheeling out of the water. Any of these surface-active behaviors can be performed to communicate with other whales, to shake parasites off of their skin, to stun prey, or just to play! Whatever the reason, it was so fun to see that behavior!
We motored home under the setting sun glowing red over the Canadian Gulf Islands.