Thursday, August 30, 2012

Whale Watching - Day 229

We spent a beautiful day on the Mystic Sea with our primary purpose of seeing Orcas (Killer Whales). We learned shortly after heading out that the previous evening all 3 of the resident Orca pods had headed up a local river. In the morning one pod had headed out and to the west. The whereabouts of the rest was unknown and would remain so for the rest of the day. But that was OK because we had 3 big highlights. Stick around and find out what they were - and to see what the grand finale was. Here we go.

Leaving Anacortes, Washington, we were boating amongst kayakers, gigantic ships and everything in between.

Our first highlight of the day occurred while viewing some harbor seals sunning themselves on some rocks. We occassionally spot harbor seals on our local beach and have witnessed a couple of baby harbor seals being "parked" while Mom was off feeding. However, I don't think we will ever see a baby harbor seal nursing on it's mother again!

We saw quite a few bald eagles over the course of the day...

...and plenty of kayakers.

Our second highlight of the day occurred when the presence of minke whales were reported. They were busy feeding so we didn't get a huge show. Since I've never seen a minke whale before it was exciting to see them everytime one surfaced.

These guys just cracked me up.
Highlight number three was a visit to the rocks where the stellar sea lions hang out. I have never seen one before! There were a couple of interesting things we learned about these 2,000+ pound creatures.
They have a common ancestor with the grizzly bear! Apparently, way back when, one went to the sea and one stayed on land. If you lay a stellar sea lion skull next to a grizzly bear skull, apparently they look exactly the same.
I've known for years that our 3 resident orca pods are peaceful salmon eaters. I didn't realize that our transient oracas, who don't belong to a pod (or family group) will eat almost whatever they can get their jaws on, including a 2000+ pound stellar sea lion!
The fellow on the left took great offense to our presence. Several of us thought he was going to come out to the boat and tell us to get lost!

Most of them were to content on this warm, sunny afternoon to care about our presence.
 Next up were more harbor seals. They perked up and posed for us.
I've been to the San Juan Island many times but always on the ferry which sticks to its route. Today we went off the beaten track and cruised by Donald Trump's island and Paul Allen's island (Microsoft). We didn't see anyone but it sure made me want my very own island!
Over the course of the day, we were playing tag with the ferry Elwha. Eventually we came upon this scene. The grand finale of a perfect day on the water. In case you're wondering, that's Mt. Baker in the background.
Thanks for joining me. I hope you enjoyed our cruise of the San Juan Islands of Washington State.

August 17
Oops, this is day 230

©2012 Michelle Goodrum

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed my trip with you. I've never seen a whale, although there are plenty in my area (I just don't like being on the ocean.) Thanks again for entertaining me today.