August 4, 2021

4 year-old Humpback Whale, Valiant, found in Presidents Channel

Humpback Whale showing tail before diving

Haleigh | M/V Osprey | August 04, 2021 | 5:30pm


Each departure from the harbor, we set out to find as much wildlife as we can! We are in communication with other whale watchers and vessels on the water to ensure we can each create some of the best experiences the Salish sea has to offer. Though it can sometimes be a gamble choosing certain paths, our sunset trip did not disappoint! 


We decided to head north through San Juan channel in pursuit of some large black and white animals spotted near the apex. Though making it to these whales was our goal, we continued to scan the channels and shorelines for other undetected whales nearby. As we passed by Waldron Island and Orcas island, Captain Gabe yelled from the helm, “There’s a spout at 11 o’clock! We found a Humpback whale!” 


We turned around to travel parallel to this 40-foot creature, one of the largest in the world. We watched this baleen whale surface as it traveled south through the channel, large nostrils peering through the surface and an exhale that sent a plume of misty air 20-feet high. This whale played some tricks, splashing its tail around under the water and switching back and forth all around us. We later identified this whale as Valiant, a 4-year old male who was seen just the day before traveling with his mother, Split Fluke. This calf has returned to the Salish sea to few through the summer because it was the feeding grounds he was first introduced to! We don’t know if he will continue to return every year, but we hope he does so we can continue to watch him grow!


We left valiant and continued our search for other wildlife. We found harbor seals splashing around in the water, definitely playing some sort of game of tag. We also saw Bald Eagles and a plethora of nonnative sheep and deer roaming Spieden island. By the time we reentered San Juan Channel to head back to Friday Harbor, we caught the most spectacular sunset. The golden rays reflected on the calm waters, allowing everyone to enjoy the ride home and soak up the experience!