Observing the Marine Life When Boating

“Whether you boat on fresh water or on the ocean, there is
a lot of marine life to observe and appreciate. We boat in the
Pacific Northwest off the west coast around the islands and
straits of the Pacific Ocean. The sea life here is exceptional.
Following are some of our wonderful experiences.”

One of the most powerful sights is that of large pods of Orca
whales, or Killer whales as they are often referred to, as they
migrate off the coast. Sometimes there can be several in these
pods including mother whales and their babies. Orca whales are
quite beautiful to see. Their black and white bodies glisten in
the sunlight each time they appear near the water surface or do
a breach jump. Usually the babies follow their mothers. It is
quite possible to watch them for hours without getting tired.

Boaters must be careful and remain a respectable distance from
the whales, as most whales are endangered. You do not want to
interfere with their normal migration routes and movements. It
is possible to see Orca whales up close in captivity, and they
are splendid animals. But when you can actually see them in
their normal environment in the ocean, it is magnificent. How
fortunate we are to be able to go boating for a few days and
have them entertain us along the way.

Another sea mammal that I always enjoy watching is the dolphin
or the porpoise. They too can be found off the west coast. These
mammals are so sleek and they can swim at very fast speeds. As
they jump and slice through the surface of the water they are
quite entertaining. Most people have seen dolphins in action at
the various aquariums around the world. Well they do the same in
the wild. They make me laugh. I think that they actually
enjoy an audience!

Living in the Pacific North West, we are very aware of the
salmon industry. When boating, there are many small fishing
boats out with their nets during the fisheries openings for the
various kinds of salmon. It is fun to watch them jump. Seals are
also very good fishermen. You can be sure that when the salmon
are plentiful around the mouths of the large rivers, you will
see a lot of seals. They love to fish for salmon, much to the
chagrin of the commercial fishermen. They can be seen swimming
through the waters, or sunning themselves on large logs or rocky
outcroppings along the shoreline. The bark of a seal is loud and
comical to hear and they are another creature that can entertain
west coast boaters.

When the salmon are running, you will find another fisherman,
one with wings. There are many Bald Eagles on the west coast and
they also enjoy a good salmon dinner. These are very majestic
birds. Their soaring overhead is something to be marveled at.
The black and white features really stand out against the sky as
they glide and then swoop down for a fish.

Sea otters can sometimes be seen around large beds of kelp. In
particular I have seen many when boating in our Bayliner, off
the coastline from British Columbia to California. These sea
creatures are very timid, so you must give them space. They love
to float on their backs and eat sea urchins or play in the
water, rolling over and over. Often you can see them playing in
pairs. Sea otters are my husband’s favorite sea mammals. He
loves to watch them play. They really are very cute. If you have
watched them, I’m sure you will agree.

As well as these mammals, the coast offers wonderful creatures
that attached themselves to the rocks and driftwood or coral.
Sea anemones are absolutely beautiful, as are the many colored
starfish. Anenomes are found in white, pale green and soft pinks
with large fluffy plumes. Starfish are found in ranges of bright
orange to deep purple. They can be very tiny and fragile or very
large. Some measure several inches across. Sea cucumbers,
barnacles, sand dollars, oysters, mussels and crabs are all
found along the coastline. I love to walk on docks at marinas
when the tide is out and see some of these shell fish in tiny
pools of water. You can often get up quite close to see them

All in all we are very fortunate in this area to be able to see
so many creatures. Many of which are not seen by most people
around the world. They enhance our environment and our boating
experiences. It is important that we remember to respect all of
these creatures in their natural environments, so as not to
interfere with nature’s course

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