July 21, 2019

An Exceptional Whale of a Day in the San Juan Islands!

Humpback Whale in the Salish Sea Bigg's Killer Whales near Friday Harbor

Olivia | July 21st, 2019 | M/V kestrel | 11:00am

Every day is completely different and unique, especially with whales that can travel over 100 miles in a day. Today, however, they decided to make our job very easy! Just as we left Friday Harbor, and I mean barely out of the harbor, we came across the T46B’s of Bigg’s Killer Whales. They continued to hug the shoreline and travel north. Captain Gabe and I adore seeing this family because their young calf has Leucism, a condition where there is partial loss of pigmentation around the entire body of an animal giving them a light grey, pale look. It is very common in birds and rare in Cetaceans, making this an extra special treat for our guests. We watched as they swam together, the grey calf sparkling in the sunlight with every breath of air.

After a while we decided to go see what else our Salish Sea has to offer and made a pit stop at White rocks to observe many Harbor Seals and their tiny pups. As we headed north around Waldron Island, Harbor Porpoises started popping up like chocolate chips everywhere! We ended up crossing Boundary Pass towards the green can between Patos Island and East Point where there was a Humpback Whale feeding in the area. Abnormally, this whale was having inconsistent dive times and sporadic changes in direction, making it hard to keep track of. All of sudden, this individual breached into the air! What an epic way to find our Baleen Whale. Thanks whales, you’re all making Gabe and I look good.

Heading back towards the harbor, we stopped at Patos Lighthouse to take photos of Mount Baker triumphantly standing behind on the horizon. We have had lots of cloud coverage lately, making this extra beautiful and breathtaking. This brief stop was as much for our passengers as it was for the Captain and I. We believe it’s important to not only view, respect, and learn about our wildlife, but to connect with the world and the landscape in which they live.

We boated through Presidents Channel and then into Spring Passage on our route back, seeing three bald eagles, heaps of Harbor Porpoises, and even a full leap out of the water from one of them! This is not common in porpoises like it is dolphins, so we all cheered in excitement. We can’t guarantee every tour will be this easy, but they all will be magical in their own away- come join us to see what all the whaley awesome hype is about!