September 13, 2020

Bigg's Killer Whales Emerge in the Fog

Orcas Swim in Fog

Olivia | M/V Kestrel | September 13th, 2020 | 14:00

With wildfires burning in California, Oregon, and Washington, the San Juan Islands were cradled in a thick layer of smoke. In addition to that, a thick fog settled in, making visibility extend only about 100 yards and eventually 250 to 300 yards off every direction of the boat. We did not let this weather get us down and set off north in search of whales!

Just north of Spieden and Flattop Islands, we caught a glimpse of black dorsal fins within the white air and white water. The T065B’s left a bold, aesthetic statement as they calmly traveled north. This family consists of a 27-year-old mother and her two calves- a male born in a 2011 and a young calf. We were one of two boats in the silence listening to them breathe, watching as they rolled, and eventually started to see them play shortly before we began to depart.

It felt serene to be a fly on the wall in that environment, just us and the whales watching their raw, pure moments in the wild. We decided to head all the way south (passing Harbor Porpoise along the way) to the end of Lopez Island and stop at two small island referred to as Whale Rocks and see not only the small Harbor Seals hauled out, but also the giant Steller’s Sea Lions. Despite the strange weather, we try our best to view wildlife in their natural setting, and today proved to everyone that it does not matter the day or the time, magnificent moments are just around the corner.