Posted by: onboardtourswhales | June 7, 2012

Minke Whales and Harbor Porpoise

Wednesday June 6, 2012

June is Orca Month here in Washington! However, our Southern Residents- Orcas, headed back out to the Pacific Ocean, a good 70 miles from the San Juan Islands.

Extreme low, close to summer solstice, tides showed invertebrates we only see exposed a few days each year. First a -3 foot low and then an incoming 9+ foot high tide, gave a glimpse of the underwater world and species!

The sun also came through the overcast clouds and let us say “Welcome to the Sunny San Juans!” We went south down San Juan Channel, viewing 100’s of harbor seals hauled out to maintain their warm-blooded bodies and rest on the rocks and islets, and a pair of Bald Eagles nesting on Cape San Juan. Out on Salmon Bank in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, we luckily sighted 2 Minke Whales zig-zagging about, foraging, being the unpredictable slinky Minkes they are! I try to imagine I am the bait fish they are after, where would I go? Then scan around to see if a Minke comes up to breathe where I thought it might. A gathering of sea birds gets my attention too, as they will take advantage of the fish being driven up toward the surface, and any leftovers! A large community of harbor porpoise, foraging in the now strong flooding tide, right outside of Friday Harbor, capped off a nice trip!

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