Our sightings today: Humpback whales, Harbour seals with pups, Dall’s Porpoises, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Black Oyster Catchers, Marbled Murrelets, Red-necked Phalaropes, Rhinoceros Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots, Great Blue Herons, Cassin’s Auklets and Common Murres.
It was a mystery boat tour this morning as we headed out in thick fog. Thanks to our onboard instruments and experienced skipper, fog does not stop us from going out on tour. In some ways having fog coating the mountain tops and smothering the islands like a dense floating blanket, forces us to look closely at what is immediately around us and to rely on our hearing more than our sight.
On a calm, mirrored sea we shut down our engines to not look for the whales but rather to listen for them. Hearing their thunderous blows break the surface of water and air, seemingly louder than usual, is astounding and makes the hair on the back of our neck stand up. It is times like this when drifting, listening, waiting and listening again, is the best solution for spotting these gentle giants in the fog. As the sun warmed the air and the fog gradually lifted, we were able to recognize at least one of the Humpbacks, as a summer resident called Ripple.
Dall’s porpoise joined in the fun today by hitching a ride with us as they utilized our bow wake for momentum, or perhaps it was simply for fun. Birds were out by the hundreds and a feasting Stellar Sea Lion splashed about as it tenderized its fresh catch.
By the time our afternoon tour pulled away from the dock, the fog had completely opened up like curtains, and on stage was a clear blue sky, a welcoming warm sun, mountain peaks and luscious green flora for our guests to feast their eyes upon.