Wow. If you were lucky enough to be in the San Juan Islands today, or even in the Seattle area, you were probably experiencing some absolutely magical weather. Summer in the San Juans seems to be in full swing. M/V Sea Lion pulled away from the dock for our noon whale watch with the sun radiating overhead, Mount Baker, the North Cascades, and the Olympics rearing their snow-crowned heads with an absurd clarity from miles and miles away, and not a breeze to be found ruffling the water. Naturalist Rachel and I kept having to pinch ourselves to remind us that, yes, this is our job – easy to forget we’re actually working on days like today!
Besides the phenomenal weather, we had some exciting reports of Transients in the Haro Strait, moving swiftly north along the west side of San Juan Island. Captain Mike made the call to swing south after leaving Friday Harbor, so we curved around South Point, cruised past False Bay, and met up with the fleet just north of Lime Kiln. After a few minutes of scanning the surrounding waters, we were treated to the familiar, much-loved views of our Transient friends. Black dorsal fins sliced through the water that was smoother than silk. Puffs of mist hovered over the surface. I analyzed their behavior for a few moments before deciding it looked as though they were traveling very pointedly; they were moving very directionally, quickly, and did not seem to be changing directions and speeds frequently, which can often indicate hunting behavior.

We enjoyed over half an hour with these amazing animals, watching blissfully as they continued moving up the shoreline of San Juan. We finally peeled away at the south end of Henry Island, sad to leave but excited to see what else we could spot. And it was indeed another treat of a day in the Salish Sea – Stellar sea lions were foraging near Spieden Island, harbor seals peppered the rocks and shorelines that we cruised by, and bald eagles were frequently spotted soaring overhead.

By the time we pulled back into the harbor, everyone was smiling and quite content from an amazing trip out on the water. Join us on our next trip, you never know what we’re going to see (but it’ll be good)!

Lauren Fritz

M/V Sea Lion

Seattle Orca Whale Watching