Harbour Porpoise, Humpback Whale & Oli the Sea Otter
April 30, 2018
With promises from the weatherman that the clouds would break and the sun would shine, we left the inner harbor for deeper seas in search of local wildlife. We aimed towards the yellow marker southeast in the Juan de Fuca Strait, which marks where the underwater mountain we call Constance Bank is. As we journeyed west, guests on both sides of the deck began to spot the small, triangular fins of our smallest cetacean- the Harbour Porpoises! These little speed demons are extremely fast swimmers and are quite shy around boats, so we cruised on, leaving the porpoises to snack on the small fish that transit the Strait.
We received a radio call from our 2 zodiacs ahead who reported finding a humpback whale. We made our way west where we too found this baleen giant. Humpbacks can reach lengths of over 17m, but they are are the skinny side this time of year as they have been fasting all winter during their journey to and from warmer waters south. Despite taking long dives and just barely lifting its tail above the surface, we were still happy to be in the presence of a whale we nearly lost forever due to the whaling industry.
Race Rocks Lighthouse offered our guests views of Bald Eagles, Harbour Seals, California and Steller Sea Lions, and most famous of all- Ollie- the sea otter! Ollie loves to roll around in the kelp beds and look curiously at all the faces looking back at him. The Sea Lions were basking in the sun on the rocks (the weatherman got it right today), and the Harbour Seals slept peacefully on the shorelines. Hundreds of birds were scattered in the area, with Pigeon Guillemots stealing the show with their bright red feet and white oval patches on their sides.
It was a beautiful day to be on the water and among some of the most interesting marine mammals in the Pacific. We cruised on on calm seas, soaking up the view of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains. After the Salish Sea adventure was in the books!