June 24, 2017

Bigg's Killer Whales in the San Juan Islands

Patos Island light and Mt. Baker

[06/23/2017 – M/V Kestrel – 02:00pm]


M/V Kestrel is our newest vessel in our fleet of four, and she has consistently proven to be an amazing tool over the last year of use. Going into her second summer as a part of our fleet I am excited to see how we can continue to use this incredible boat to better our guest experience. We are consistently impressed by the smoothness of the ride and just the sheer distance that we can cover on this boat.

Yesterday’s tour was a great example of the flexibility created by touring the San Juan Islands on such a fast vessel. We left Friday Harbor and headed East through Upright Channel, stopping to check out a bald eagle nest on Lopez Island. We had wonderful looks at a chick in the nest, as well as the two parents sitting in the surrounding branches! We continued towards the eastern side of Orcas Island and through Obstruction Pass. We were treated to sweeping views of the majestic Mt. Baker on the mainland. We all commented on just how clear the views of the mountain were, not a cloud in sight!

We continued out into Rosario Strait, and turned north towards the top of Lummi Island where we encountered my favorite family of Bigg’s killer whales, the T065As! This momma and her four kiddos are some of our “regulars” here in the inland waters of the Salish Sea. The whales were socializing and travelling north, and we got some excellent views from our water-level viewing platform.

After leaving the orcas we headed towards Patos Island to check out the historic lighthouse on the point and the open water views into Boundary Pass up towards the Canadian Gulf Islands. It was a spectacular day full of wildlife, blue skies, smooth buttery water, and incredible views. It just doesn’t get better than that!