South Whidbey Record


First Mystic Sea whale watchers go home happy

South Whidbey Record Island Life
March 16, 2013 · Updated 9:56 AM

Paul Schell, Janet Ploof and Bernita Sanstad chat aboard the M/V Mystic Sea while looking for whales. / Photo courtesy of Sharon Lundahl

The M/V Mystic Sea took a group of Langley merchants and stakeholders, as well as a few visitors, on a sunny inaugural cruise last Friday. Photo courtesy of Sharon Lundahl | Mary Ann Mansfield strikes her best Titanic “king of the world” pose aboard the Mystic Sea.

More than 40 people boarded the ship March 8 and set out to find the gray whales that journeyed into Puget Sound.

Despite a perfect day out on the water, the whales made themselves scarce initially. Skipper Monte Hughes was in communication with other boats in the area updating him on the whales’ location.

“We saw harbor seals, lots of eagles and even a Dall’s porpoise, but no whales,” said passenger Fred Lundahl, “until the ferry Acorn came to our aid and told us of a single gray over by Everett.”

“It turned out to be an old friend — Number 22. And we all went home happy,” said Lundahl, who has tracked the visiting whales via the Orca Network.

“The public and Town of Langley’s response was fantastic,” Hughes said.

“The Mystic Sea was full to capacity Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he added.

Hughes reported sightings all three days.

“On Friday, we saw gray whales, on Saturday, transient orca whales, and on Sunday three gray whales, one of which we believe to be Patches,” Hughes said.

Patches is a gray whale who earned his name after being beat up by a group of orcas and has since sported some patchy scars. Photo courtesy of Sharon Lundahl | Fred Lundahl welcomes the Singh Khalsa family aboard the Mystic Sea. The family was visiting from Michigan.

“We love Langley, a wonderful town. We are overwhelmed with the warm welcoming response and support that we have received. We cannot thank you all enough,” Hughes said.

Hughes also said that he appreciates the help of the Port of South Whidbey for its assistance at the dock and with parking.

“It has made the operation work flawlessly,” he said.

Langley Main Street Association will also start operating its shuttle between the marina, downtown and off-site parking this weekend.

The 100-foot long M/V Mystic Sea will moor at Langley Marina for two months taking people out to spot gray whales.


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