Thursday, August 11, 2016
Why, yes, I'd like a cookie...
Today, we spent the afternoon with "the Cookie Clan," also known as the J-22s... Oreo (J22), Doublestuf (J34), and Cookie (J38).
A beautiful day on San Juan Island. I was in a polo shirt and lightweight pants while prepping the boat. Only needed a vest over the polo while out on the water. Yeah, only two layers - first time this season. A high of 79º... whooo-hooo!
To go along with that, beautiful water - not flat calm, but not enough wave action to call it even light chop.
And to go along with that, a boat full of enthusiastic guests. Really. We actually got out 3 minutes ahead of our departure time! One in a row!
The Cookie Clan were the whales closest to us, and the only residents in the area - that's where we're going.
We were on the scene in just under 45 minutes. Our first view...
Not a bunch of other boats there - more private boats than commercial whale watch boats; and a NOAA Enforcement boat. I set us up for viewing and shut down the boat; the whales were mostly milling (not moving fast in any specific direction), making for a very relaxed viewing.
We were with the whales for an hour and 15 minutes, much of that time with the engine off - lots of good behavior: a spy hop, tail slaps, a few pec slaps, and a close encounter when Doublestuf decided to head off on his own, veering from the path they were previously taking.
A couple more images...
That (above) is a tall dorsal fin!
With an hour left on this tour, we left the whales, in search of other wildlife. One guest told me (before we left) that she really wanted to see a bald eagle. It took some searching to find a couple... and along the way we saw a Great Blue Heron and some other fun sea birds.
I got my camera out when we came across a dozen or so Stellar Sea Lions on the rocks...
"The Grizzly Bears of the Sea." They are large and impressive. A couple more bald eagles on the way back to Friday Harbor.
A very nice day on the water.
Captain Pete was driving one of our other Friday Harbor boats. We had been looking at the exhaust on that boat before he departed. Out on the water, he asked, "How does my stern look?"
"Are you asking me if that boat makes your butt look big?? Sorry, Pete, you are my friend, but I just don't think of you that way."
Apparently, I misunderstood what he was asking. ;-)