Friday, July 29, 2016


My Mother used to tell me that I tried to be born breach... she would say, "You came out telling the world to kiss your ass... nothing has changed."  Ah, dear ol' Mom, she had a way with words.  But, that's not the breach I'm writing about today.

We had a private charter on our boat today.  I was originally scheduled to work out of Roche, but the scheduler moved me to Kittiwake, in Friday Harbor.  I don't ask why.  My charter turned out to be all guys... a bachelor party... a group of friends from around the country.  Of course, they bought a Washington State Beverage License so they could have alcohol on the boat.

And, of course, they were late.  They got on the boat with a LOT of beer, some harder beverages, and a few snacks... "Exactly how long do you guys think you're going to be on this boat?"  Yeah, they thought that was funny.  I was firm in my safety speech and let them know that Hannah, my first mate "speaks for me," and is their go-to person and safety officer on the boat.  "Don't mess with her."

She handled them fine; she's a good hand on the boat.  And, of course, neither of us had any idea what the charter was... until they showed up.  We roll with it.

They wanted to see whales... "Oh, and eagles - we want to see some bald eagles!"  No Orca reports, but we did have 3 humpbacks moving down San Juan Channel.  We put the power on, heading for the humpbacks.  Our first view...

One never knows how active or elusive humpbacks will be.  This turned out to be a very nice viewing.

Our other boat on the other side of the whales...

Love the flukes...

We tracked with the whales, out of Cattle Pass and into Juan de Fuca.  The weather was warm, lots of sunshine, and nearly calm water - great for viewing.

Without warning - a breach!  This is the biggest humpback I have seen in the San Juans!  And, he came all the way out of the water!  Did I get the shot?

Umm, no.  Hands busy at the helm.  Just the splash.  No one on our boat got the shot.  No one on our other boat (on the other side of the whales from us) got the shot.  But, I will carry this one in my memory - it was very impressive!

We tracked them for a while...

I let our guys know that the next surfacing would be our last looks, and we would be in search of other wildlife.  "Wave bye-bye to the whales."

The guys were hooting and hollering.  They listened while Hannah told them about the whales.  Yeah, they drank, but they stayed pleasant.

In search of bald eagles, we found 3 of them, and were treated to a nice close fly-over.  They had questions about the bull kelp in the water... I told Hannah we'd bring some onboard for them... they were like little girls about touching it.  Hannah pulled up a good size stalk, I cut it open so they could see it was hollow, and we passed it around the boat... well, for those who would touch it.

Exploring more, we found a Stellar Sea Lion where they could compare the size of it with some nearby harbor seals.

It was a good trip.

Only one trip for us today, but it was enough.  Safety training and fueling before and after the trip.  A great time with the humpbacks.  And, got the guys back in time for them to have a meal before they caught the next ferry.

We are heavy into the busiest part of the season.  I'll be working an extra day this next week... some thing about another charter... yeah, we'll see what that turns out to be.

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