Lauren Fritz, Seahawk, 07/28/17, 2pm Tour
Roche Harbor was sunny and bustling the afternoon before our 2 pm tour today, a typical day out here in the summer! Guests and crew alike were so excited to get out on the water and see what treasures were in store for us today. Captain Joe and I gave our safety and wildlife briefings to make sure everyone knew what to expect for the trip, and then off we went. Lines were stored, fenders tied away, and binoculars passed around.
We went on one of our favorite search routes to spot wildlife. Captain Joe expertly led us up along Stuart Island and past Turn Point, where we were greeted with stunning views of Mount Baker and the lighthouse on the most northwestern tip of the continental US. We stopped and watched a few Harbor porpoises as they rapidly surfaced nearby.
From Stuart, we continued on to nearby Flattop, a wildlife refuge that is home to several bald eagles and hundreds of harbor seals. We were in for a surprise! We must have seen at least a dozen bald eagles perched in the tops of trees, soaring above the island, and swooping in and out of sight amidst the forested bluffs. I had never seen so much bald eagle activity in my life! We saw these massive birds catching fish, and once our engines were off, we could hear them twittering to each other. The bald eagle call is perhaps one of the most beautiful sounds I get to hear on our tours - it was amazing to hear it with symphony-like volume and clarity!
Past Flattop, we journeyed around Spieden and the Cactus Islands to survey bull kelp, watch more Harbor seals, and see even more bald eagles. The amount of wildlife we saw today was remarkable! What a treat. We finished the trip off with some more Harbor porpoise sightings. A lovely day on the water. Thanks to those of us who joined us.
Lauren Fritz, Naturalist, San Juan Outfitters