Today on M/V Sea Hawk, guests were able to see Resident Orcas just outside of Mosquito Pass. This group of orcas were first spotted today off of Saturna Island and throughout of the whole day they continued south. During peak season and any time from 10am to 8pm, the orcas have at least one whale watch boat with them. With this being peak season, it is common to see pleasure boats with our beloved orcas as well. There is one vessel in particular that watches the pleasure boats and is constantly busy during this time, Soundwatch.
Soundwatch is mainly an education program for pleasure boats to inform them about the regulations that goes along with viewing whales. This education program started back in 1993 and the crew is all volunteers. What they typically do is when they see a pleasure boat in a bad position, they will approach them and hand them a Be Whale Wise brochure. This brochure informs people on what the specific guidelines are, including: slowing down to less than seven knots within 400 yards, maintaining a 200 yard distance, and keeping clear of the whale's path. This also describes why there are these guidelines and how to view other wildlife.
It is always nice to see Soundwatch out and watching all the vessel traffic. Guests were interested in watching them and seeing which boats they were educating.
Naturalist, M/V Sea Hawk, San Juan Outfitters Kayaking & Whale Watching