Yesterday we had yet another amazing day of encounters with some of the magnificent cetaceans that call the Salish Sea home. Captain Mike and I headed out on a bit of a grey afternoon in search of adventure and whales, of course. We had a lovely group of guests on board, and even a few birthdays!
We steered the mighty M/V Sea Lion north towards the Canadian Gulf Islands where we found J Pod, part of our Southern Resident Killer Whale population, traveling south through the narrow and beautiful inlets. We spent some time with some of my very favorite families, the J2s and the J19s, and were even treated to some amazing surface behavior from the oldest known killer whale in the world, J2 Granny, who is 105 years old this year. She spyhopped, stickeing her whole head out of the water, and even threw in a small half breach as she marched her family south. I was most excited to see one of the youngest members of the Southern Resident community, J51 Nova, son of J41 Eclipse. I was impressed with just how large and round this little boy has gotten over the past year! He looks more like a two-year-old than a one-year-old! We traveled south with the killer whales for about and hour and then left to search for some other wildlife on our way back to Friday Harbor.
On our crossing through the North end of Haro Strait, Captain Mike and I spotted a beautiful humpback whale… wait! No! Two humpback whales! We were treated to seeing one of the perennial returners, Big Momma BCY0324, and her newest calf rolling around in the waves. Big Momma’s calf was lolling on top of her throwing its pectoral fins and flukes in the air as she slowly surfaced and shallowly dove. What a treat to see a new baby!
On our way back to Friday Harbor, we also had the chance to stop by Green Point on Spieden Island to take a peek at some Steller’s sea lions and bald eagles. As we cruised back to the harbor I had such great conversations with our guests. I am always truly overwhelmed by the way encounters with wildlife in their natural habitats can impact a person’s life. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to share my passion for the natural world with the public and potentially light a passion for someone else.
Naturalist Sarah, M/V Sea Lion