Noon trip from Roche Harbor, San Juan Island
We had ideal conditions to paddle today. Essentially no winds, minimal tides, and cloud cover made the water absolutely calm. I lead our trip today with four guests out into Speiden Channel, and west into Haro Strait. Tons of bird life right outside the harbor, between Pearl Island and Barren Rock (a national wildlife refuge). We spotted Hooded Mergansers, Harlequin Ducks, Surf Scoters, Buffleheads, and Double Crested Cormorants all in the first 10 minutes of the trip. Several eagles were trying to take advantage of the hundreds of diving birds. We saw no fewer than a dozen attempts today at capturing ducks by Bald Eagles today. Primarily they seemed to target female Buffleheads? No success that we saw.
We took a short break near Battleship island, on the west side of Henry Island. The kelp forests are still thick, and provide great habitat for wildlife. We had our first close encounter with a Harbor Seal out there. Great views. No sign of Stellars today, although the other guides have been warning me that there is an individual Stellar hanging out near Battleship Island, and he is a little territorial.
We paddled off shore about a mile, since the water was so flat. I was hoping to spot some Harbor or Dalls porpoise, but no luck. In the back of my mind, I was also hoping to catch a glimpse of a Killer Whale in the distance. A friend called me today to let me know they were spotted nearby, and I was hoping they might reverse their earlier direction, and head back our way. No luck, but it was a great trip overall. After some shoreline exploring, we made our way back home. Probably about a 7 mile round trip. Lots of Puget Sound mist, but no hard rain. Lots of Harbor Seals, Birds, and smooth water. Thanks to Kyle, Candice, Lauren, and Karlee for choosing to getting outdoors on a beautiful fall day.