[Sarah M. – 08/06/2017 – M/V Kestrel – 02:00pm]
Today’s afternoon trip on M/V Kestrel was one for the books! Spectacular water and great wildlife spread out through the Salish Sea makes for a great day spent. Warm temperatures on land made cruising on our “refreshingly cold” waters a pleasant break from our balmy weather! As I hand out heavy exposure suits on the warmest days during the summer, guests always look at me like I’m crazy. Today we were happy to have all of that gear on out on the water… It dropped about 20-25 degrees as we motored over our 47 degree water!
After getting off the dock, Captain Gabe steered M/V Kestrel north through San Juan Channel towards Flattop Island. As we reached the island we were greeted by harbor seals hauled out along the edge of the water. We got especially great views of mamas with their pups! These pups will stay with their mothers for about four to six weeks before their mothers abandon these precocial offspring. Along the Flattop shore we also got views of pigeon guillemots and bald eagles. Leaving the National Wildlife Refuge we cruised north into Boundary Pass and across the border into Canadian waters.
We rounded East Point on Saturna Island and headed up through the Strait of Georgia. We spent some time checking out the Belle Chain Islets, even getting to see a seal foraging on baitfish very close to the boat! It was so fun to see the young harbor seal zooming around just under the water chasing food. Leaving the seal we headed out into the middle of the Strait to find two humpback whales traveling south together. By looking at their tails we identified them as BCY01060 Heather and BCX1057 Divot. Usually these enormous animals are fairly solitary, rarely traveling the company of their own kind. So far this year we have see a bit of a shift in this behavior, with several whales forming these short-term traveling relationships. Maybe this is as a result of our increased Bigg’s killer whale (marine-mammal eaters) presence?
Leaving the whales, we headed south through Tumbo Channel and down the Saturna Island shoreline to Monarch Head and Java Rocks. The water in Boundary was glassy and M/V Kestrel really stretched her legs, topping out at 35 knots on the day!