I pinched myself several times today but the mirage of summer never lifted.  I was contemplating delayering to my t-shirt under a blazing sun while watching killer whales in Haro Strait.  I would have declared to our guests that solstice had arrived early, except the whales we were watching were the wrong type, and it was just two days ago that I was getting showered with sea water and struggling to stay upright while 6 foot seas pummeled the M/V Sea Lion.

On a typical summer excursion, a seasoned naturalist would feel confident in predicting that guests would be whisked to the west side of San Juan Island to watch resident killer whales hunt for chinook salmon.  The transient orcas we were watching today could care less about salmon though.  But what about…a northern elephant seal!  When Rachel and I excitedly pointed out the massive head of an elephant seal, we secretly began to salivate for our orca friends.  To witness the transient killer whales hunting an elephant seal would be a serious treat for these two nature dweebs, but alas, the orcas sped right on by.  In fact, during the entire time we observed the animals, they were in high-speed, transit mode.  It was as if the whole crew had just remembered how incredibly tasty the Canadian harbor seals were the other day.  One individual was porpoising out of the water as they made their way past scenic Turn Point with snow-covered Mount Baker in the background.

Andrew Munson

Naturalist, M/V Sea Lion

San Juan Safaris