[Lauren Fritz, M/V Kittiwake, 08/08/17, 2:00 Private Charter]

Today was an incredibly enjoyable day out on the water. It might have been the combination of wonderful whale sightings, a perfect temperature that would have made Goldilocks dance, or the flat, calm sea conditions – or it just might have been the magic of the Salish Sea. We had a wonderful family on board the Kittiwake today, and private charters are always enjoyable for all because we can tailor the trip to exactly what they want to see and explore. Captain Mike and I discussed some different options and we eventually decided to head down south to check out some pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) before moving out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca to look for baleen whales.

However, we had a few delays – I just love when you get surprised by the wildlife! We checked out some adorable gull chicks that were hanging out on Goose Island near Cattle Point. This island is a seabird haven. There were cormorants galore, pigeon guillemots bobbing alongside the shore, and plenty of different gull species. We spent a few minutes listening to their calls and watching as they fished, rested, and warmed up in the sun.

Once we had made our way out into the Strait, we were delighted to hear of some minke whales and a possible humpback just a few miles away. We started scanning, and sure enough, before too long we saw the minke’s signature sweep above the surface of the water, moving like a shiny torpedo before we saw the hooked dorsal fin break the surface for a brief second and then disappear. We watched a few of these whales as they darted around us feeding. It was so cool! We kept our eyes peeled for the humpback, and may have caught a glimpse, but this whale was certainly very elusive today. All in all, though, we had some great whale sightings!

On our way home, Captain Mike took us on the scenic route by Long Island to check out an enormous bald eagle nest, and then on around Turn and Brown Islands on our way back into Friday Harbor. What a great day on the water! There’s always so much to see, and we had some great company today.

Naturalist Lauren, San Juan Safaris


Look at this cute tufted puffin!

Minkes in the Salish Sea

A cute Rhinoceros Auklet just doing his auklet-y thing