June 6, 2019

Fidalgo Island Orcas! 06/06/19

dorsal fin

Jordan | M/V Kestrel | 06/06/19 | 11:00am

As the sun shone bright overhead and the Salish sea beckoned us to join her, Captain Brian, Naturalist Sarah and I set out towards promising reports of humpback whales up north. But then, almost immediately, we got a brand new report of orca whales off in the Rosario Strait!

Filled with excitement, we headed south down through the San Juan Channel. As we neared Cattle Pass off the southern point of San Juan, we spotted a crazy battle in the sky! There were three huge bald eagles attacking each other! One of the birds carried a fish, and as major scavengers, bald eagles prefer to steal food from other birds than hunt for themselves. It was pretty wild to see that in action.

Then a bit further along, we found a sea lion tossing a fish in the air and eating at the surface of the water! What a great sighting.

Then minutes later, we saw a puffin! He flew faster than our boat as we sped further south. So much wildlife right away!

We headed around the southern tip of Lopez Island and headed up through the Rosario Strait. We headed east across the channel toward Fidalgo Island where we found orca whales! Their huge dorsal fins pierced through the water and gracefully glided past our boat.

Due to the uniqueness of their dorsal fins, we were able to identify these individuals as the T137s joined by the T65Bs. They swam close together as they searched the water for potential marine mammal prey.

We were about to leave the scene, but we shut off our engines to watch them disappear into the distance and take a snack break when suddenly they turned 90 degrees and swam directly towards our boat! Passing just feet from our bow, their massive bodies lunged through the water and we could all hear their powerful breaths. Such a special moment.

Eventually we turned back around and headed back towards Cattle Pass. We stopped by these huge rocks jutting out of the water and watched seals and sea lions basking in the sun and swimming in the water.