July 30, 2019

Humpback and Orcas in the Strait of Georgia!

Jordan | M/V Kestrel | 07/30/19 | 11:00am

Today, Pete and I took the Kestrel out of Friday Harbor up towards the north, just scanning around all the different islands to find some wildlife.

As we boated up through the San Juan Channel, we stopped by White Rocks to view some harbor seals! These chunky, floppy animals basked in the sunlight and enjoyed napping as the tides slowly approached their rocks.

We continued onwards up into Canadian Islands. We crossed Boundary Pass and entered a beautiful area called Georgeson Pass. Then, we got reports of Humpbacks up in the Strait of Georgia! So, we booked it on upwards.

However, before we reached our destination, we found a different humpback whale! It was so cool to watch this massive marine mammal emerge from the water and show us his shiny, blubbery back. Each breath was incredibly powerful as we enjoyed every little movement of this creature. He swam and dove and travelled up the channel.

Suddenly, we got a report of orcas just a few minutes away! Incredible! We boated back towards the east for only a couple miles before we saw blows! We found the orca whales! Everyone was really excited as we approached and viewed this family swimming really close together.

There was a tiny baby with this pod, leaping out of the water playfully next to her mother. They swam and travelled further east within the Strait of Georgia as they scanned the water for prey. Identifying them as Bigg’s killer whales, we know that they spend most of their time in stealth mode searching for marine mammal prey. They started swimming really fast as if they heard something off in the distance. They were booking it at about 6 miles per hour.

But then they disappeared under the surface. Suddenly, they appeared close to the boat! We shut off our engines and the whales approached even closer so we could even hear their exhalations! Everyone rushed over to the edge and held our breaths as they passed by and disappeared back under the water.

Wow! What a day.

Eventually, we headed back towards San Juan Island, very content with the day’s findings.