Sucia Island Picnic Cruise July 13th Harbor Seals, Bald Eagles & Sea Stars

Our Sucia Island Picnic Cruise on Sunday, July 13th was a beautiful sunny day with minus tides. The minus tides allowed us to observe tide pools that would normally be covered in water. There were many crabs, anemones, sea stars and other organisms in the tide pools and on the rocks.

The Sea Stars on the coast from Alaska to Mexico are being decimated from a disease called Sea Star Wasting Syndrome. It is happening on the Atlantic coast, also. Scientists do not know what is causing it and are asking the public to help monitor the health of the sea star population. On our beach walk, an area was paced off and sea stars were counted, measured and photographed. This same area will be used in subsequent beach walks on our Picnic Cruise for the next six weeks. The data collected will go to the Marine Lab at Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. This will them be sent on to Cornell University and the University of Washington.

On Sucia Island is a survey monument that is the spot for the 1st land survey done in 1892. It was for the mineral rights for the Sucia Island Stone Mine. The Chuckanut Sandstone at Sucia Island was quarried in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and the sandstone blocks were sent to Seattle by barge to create buildings and roads.

A wonderful picnic lunch was enjoyed by all at the picnic pavilion. On the way home, there were a pair of Bald Eagles perched on a rocky bluff that is a National Wildlife Refuge. We have 84 of these refuges in the San Juan Islands. Harbor Porpoise are often seen feeding along the ride rips as we cruise along. On the west shore of Lummi Island we have been watching an eagle’s nest that is nestled in the trees right above the shoreline. It seems at this point that the chicks may have fledged. (Learned to fly!) There were also many harbor seals with their pups. Besides just having a picnic on Sucia Island, wildlife abounds on the trip to and from the islands. The views of the scenery and wildlife are only accessible by boat. Our next Picnic Cruise will be next Sunday on July 20th.