June 24, 2021

Fantastic Friendly Transient Orcas Near San Juan

Jordan | M/V Kestrel | 06/24/2021 2:00pm

Today was spectacular. The gorgeous sunny day filled all our hearts with sunny excitement as we headed out of Friday Harbor. Captain Erick and I sped down the San Juan Channel towards the open waters of the Salmon Bank.

Then, in the distance, we spotted orca whales! Huge fins pierced the shimmering water as they swam towards San Juan Island. They got closer and we counted about 9 orca whales! Upon looking at the dorsal fins we could ID specific individuals. Two massive males were swimming amongst the group who were identified as two lone males named T125A and T128 born in 1998 and 1988 who are brothers who often swim together! Along then also swam the grandmother whale, T36, her daughter and grandchildren. And then there were two more whales T77C and T77D! What a wonderful array of whales who all decided to come together. We sometimes see whales joining together for socializing and mating.

Eventually, we boated away and headed towards Long Island and found a bald eagle! The elegant bird perched in the tree and gazed into the water in search for fish.

Then, we headed over and found Steller sea lions! Huge pinnipeds lumbered around a small island and lounged in the sun. One massive barked at the smaller sealions jumping in and out of the water.

We passed by Goose Island and admired rocks completely covered in birds! There were so many nests and we even saw a cormorant flying with a stick to make hers bigger.

Then as we headed back to the harbor we stopped to watch the orcas again! We were watching the two males swimming close to the shoreline, when suddenly. BLOW! Two different whales surface right next to us! They came from out of nowhere and decided to come visit our boat! Everyone was thrilled. I think we were all in shock. They are such incredible animals.

After that great look, we headed back to the harbor.