Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:21 pm
Mt wife and I spent the fourth on a whale watching cruise in the San Juans. For over forty years we traveled these waters in our own boat, so we found ourselves sailing in the wake of many memories. The most interesting animals we found were three Minke whales feeding south of Cattle Point. Just as Jan Kocian shows us, repeated trips to familiar waters can still show us something new. In my 60 years of whale watching, Minke whales have always been solitary creatures. They are small, fast whales of the genus Baleanoptera, the same group as blue and fin whales. A normal encounter is one blow, then a fluke, and gone! These whales however were lunge feeding, which I have seen before, but these seemed to be cooperating. They were bubble feeding, which herded the fish and attracted seabirds. Then they would break the surface with an open mouth and plunge back into the water to bubble for one of the other whales. The fish didn't stand a chance.While grilling dinner at home at the end of the day, I saw a lone gray whale feeding. Great day.