Today on the M/V Sea Lion we cruised out of Friday Harbor into another sunny, brilliant, San Juan day. Today we headed south, hoping to maximize on some early reports of whale blows southwest of Cattle Pass. We crossed into a boiling current as we broke west of Cattle Point, past Whale Rocks and a couple of wary looking harbor seals. As we rounded the corner into Haro Strait it seemed the other boaters in the area had been stumped, losing track of the whales since we had heard their earlier reports.

Today we had Captain Pete at the helm, and he had a hunch that we ought to head toward Eagle Point to the northwest. With no other boats in sight, we scanned the water looking for any sights or sounds of whales. Just when it seemed we’d been skunked, a tiny unexpected glimmer was seen on the north end of Kanaka Bay. It was one of our favorite humpbacks, Big Mama and her new calf, only about 200 yards from shore!

Big Mama is a bit of a local celebrity, as she was the first humpback whale to return to the Salish Sea after humpbacks were nearly driven to extinction by commercial whaling. Her return around 15 years ago marked the end of a bleak era, a period totally lacking humpbacks in our local waters. She has brought at least six calves with her to feed in the rich summer waters of the Salish Sea, and slowly other whales have followed her lead, making the San Juans a place to seek humpbacks once again.

Beth Tate - Naturalist

M/V Sea Lion

San Juan Outfitters Kayaking and Whale