June 2, 2019

Adventure with the T10's near Victoria!

Erin | M/V Kestrel | Sunday, June 2, 2019 | 3:00 PM

Today was an adventurous day aboard the M/V Kestrel. We began the trip with a decision of which way we wanted to go, as there were reports of great wildlife in many directions. We decided to head towards Victoria, because there were some promising reports of orcas that way. On the way, we went through some coastal upwelling, which was very fun, and then we got into some awesome waves. As I said, it was a grand adventure!

Once we passed the beautiful lighthouse on the tip of Victoria, we spotted two dorsal fins in the distance. One was definitely a male dorsal fin-towering 6 feet tall in the air. The other one was much shorter and had a noticeable nick on it towards the bottom. We ended up identifying the pair as T10 and her son, T10C. T10 is a whale that is estimated to have been born in 1963, and T10C is 20 years old, born in 1999. The pair of whales were not travelling in any distinct direction for a while, but then their behavior changed a little bit. They began swimming faster and travelling more erratically at the surface. They also started to surface and show their entire eyepatches! During the encounter, there were many seabirds in the area. There were gulls, cormorants, and pigeon guillemots. They were flying around where the orcas were surfacing, so they may have caught some prey. There was also a lot of upwelling happening in the area, and we noticed some baitballs as well. The wildlife was abundant! After watching T10 and her son, we travelled south towards Cattle Point and got some awesome views of the lighthouse. We got to see the north, east, and south side of San Juan Island today. It was neat to be able to see the differences in the amount of foliage based on which side of the island we were on.  What a wonderful trip aboard the M/V Kestrel. Until next time!

Naturalist Erin