Captain Nancy and naturalist Margo just returned from a very happy whale watch tour. They reported seeing a very spread out group of southern resident orca whales– specifically, J pod. They saw a few breaches, pedunkle throws (cartwheel-like behaviors) and lots more activity. Margo says she got some great looks at siblings Blackberry (J-27), Mako (J-39) and Tsuchi (J-31)!
The weather is beautiful down here in the harbor, and it was a great trip for all on board!!
Yesterday I paddled out on a 3 hour sea kayak tour with guests from Idaho. The water level was so high that most haul out rocks were covered so I wasn’t sure we’d see any harbor seals but as we paddled down the west side of Henry Island we were suddenly surrounded by harbor seals. 6 or 7 of them surfaced all around us, curious and calm but wary too. One large adult repeatedly surfaced eating a HUGE fish. With each appearance a little more of the fish disappeared! At one point a little pup came over to investigate us and surfaced both between our boats and alongside my bow. It was neat to see the little one, but I was glad it kept its distance.
It was a gorgeous, calm day out on the west side and there were few boats to be seen or heard. Simply lovely.
Today I paddled out of Roche Harbor on a 3 hour tour and we spotted orca (killer) whales! Thanks to our whale watch boat I received the whale report before leaving the harbor, but was not sure if we would be able to see the whales as they were already headed north in the Haro Strait. We paddled out to the kelp forest off Henry Island and as we were eating some seaweed, looking for seals and listening for eagles we saw some killer whales! There were quite a few whales visible, so I knew they were resident killer whales (which congregate in large numbers)
They were members of the southern resident orca community and were headed north at a brisk pace but we saw lots of large, dark dorsal fins slipping in and out of the water. Although the whales were out in the strait, it was a pleasant surprised to see them on our short tour!
After we saw the whales we headed down south a ways and looked for some swimming harbor seals and a bald eagle or two. The real highlight of the trip came on our way back when I was paddling alongside Kevin and his young son Ryan and a harbor seal pup decided to come check us out. It popped up alongside our boats, just inches away from Ryan! It swam to their rudder, popped up underneath the paddles and swam belly up under my boat. I could even hear its claws click on the underside of my kayak as it went underneath. This is the time of year when the weaned seal pups are starting to investigate their surroundings on their own, so I was excited to see it upclose!
This morning on our 3-hour family sea kayak tour we had a veritable feast of native wildlife! Apparently the animals were hungry, because we saw ochre sea stars eating barnacles, harbor seals eating fish, as well as a sighting of a bald eagle catching a fish! One of the kayaks had a baby seal pup come up and stare at the paddlers, from less than a paddle’s reach away from the boat! Beautiful paddling weather today, no wind and warm!
On our last day of a 2 day sea kayaking trip, we managed to sneak in a group photo! It was wonderful to have a ‘girl’s only’ trip.
Great weather, great food and most importantly, great company!
Photo credit: Peggy Howard