How awesome was today? 40 tonnes of awesome that’s how much. Waking up this morning excited at the prospect of seeing some of God’s wonderfully wild creatures we skipped breakfast at our “less than wonderful” hotel and made our way directly to Friday Harbor to grab a bite to eat, before quickly heading toward the marina, down the gangway and onto the Western Prince II, preparing for a day on the water we would never forget.
The Western Prince II is a 35ft’ish boat that tours around the San Juan islands carrying like minded people on a water safari in search of Big Game, such as Orcas/Killer Whales (both mammal and fish feeding …bet you didn’t know there was a difference), Grey Whales, Dall’s Porpoise, Harbor Seals, Bald Eagles and even Minke Whales. As the boat manoeuvred gently out of the packed marina and began its navigation around the many islands set like jewels in the Strait of Georgia, we were reminded that we were on the hunt for wild animals and wild animals will generally do their own thing, quite often not showing up on cue. We therefore shouldn’t be disappointed if all we saw was the odd seagull. We’ll they couldn’t have been more wrong!
15 minutes into riding the waves, Captain Pete received a radio transmission from another Captain on the waves, that a rare sighting had been confirmed 6 miles north of our present location. Relaying this message to Nan and Chris (his first and second mates) we, along with the other 24 passengers were informed that Humpback Whales had been spotted ejecting 15ft water fountains from their blowholes. We pounded the waves for a few more minutes and then arrived at the reported place. Engines switched off and with everyone holding their breath …then suddenly “There she blows”, screamed a very excited passenger. With digital cameras pointed in all directions frantically taking panicked shots of anything that moved, we all managed to miss the 30 tonne mammal effortlessly powering its way through the open water. Round 1 to the Whale! Anthony, not used to losing Rounds, composed himself, focused, and got the camera ready for Round 2. We think a picture speaks a thousand words, so no more chitter-chatter from us, just take a look at the photos of whales, eagles, birds and rams.
… we met some great people on the boat and had a wonderful time admiring the beautiful scenery and wildlife. We docked 3½ hours later, and had a quick drink at the bar before returning to the room for some R&R. 9pm! Dinner tonight was a rushed affair, but none the less very pleasant.
Back on the road tomorrow, heading into Canada.