[Lauren Fritz, M/V Seahawk, 08/24/17, 2:00 pm Tour]
Today was a beautiful day in Roche Harbor, Washington, but what day isn't gorgeous out here in the San Juans? This particular day was sunny, with a light breeze and calm waters. The perfect day to go out on a whale watch. Captain Joe and I were so excited to see what animals were waiting for us out of the harbor, so we gave our introductions and briefings to our wonderful guests, cast the lines, and motored out of Roche to see what we could find. We had the chance to take Mosquito Pass out to the Haro Strait. This is one of my favorite passages in the islands; there were some great views of harbor seals, and it's always fun to get an up-close and personal look at the shorelines of Henry and San Juan Island.
Once we scooted out into the Haro, Captain Joe shared some exciting news - there were two humpbacks a few miles down south, and we were going to head for them! I adore humpback whales, and can't emphasize enough how exciting it is that we are able to see these beautiful animals up here. They were nearly wiped out from the North Pacific by whalers during the first half of the twentieth century, and completely avoided the Salish Sea for decades after that. We've been seeing them return ever since the early 2000's, and each year there's a few more new animals. We're able to identify them by their tail flukes using photo ID, so when we caught up with the two humpbacks down along the southwestern side of San Juan Island, I snapped a few photos and was able to ID Heather and Divot, two of our favorite regulars in this area!
They seemed to be feeding in the nutrient rich waters off the Hannah Heights area of San Juan, as they had some sporadic surface intervals and frequent dives. It was so exciting to watch their mega-powerful blows and see their massive tail flukes sweeping up out of the water, mini-waterfalls cascading down from them. I've posted my favorite photos from the trip. Let me know what you think!
Thanks to those of you who joined us on the boat today. It's always a fun adventure, made even better when we get to hang out with some of our favorite locals.
Naturalist Lauren, San Juan Outfitters