July 31, 2021

Humpback Surprise by Waldron Island

Humpback Whale surfacing for air

Haleigh | M/V Kestrel | July 31, 2021 | 2:00pm


We started our Saturday afternoon trip moving north through the San Juan Channel. We reached a small island called Skipjack to find two dozen harbor seals hauled out along the shoreline! Some of them were playing in the kelp beds while most lay in a banana-shape pose, head and tail pulled up towards the sky. We rounded this tiny island and continued north in search of more wildlife! 


Earlier reports of Bigg’s Killer Whales near the Canadian border meant it was worth a shot of seeing them! We continued all the way towards Point Roberts, a U.S. territory landlocked by Canada, and could just barely see the dorsal fins of the reported orcas still on that Canadian side. We watched them mill around for ~15 minutes, moving just parallel with the border. We decided to leave these whales and take our chances for other wildlife.


Luckily, a Humpback Whale was spotted near Waldron island, so we redirected southbound towards that cetacean! We arrived just in time to see this Humpback Whale’s fluke, or tail. We started our clocks and waited again for the next surfacing. After ~9.5 minutes, we had another surfacing off of our port, or left, side just by the boat! The large plume of exhaled air spooked myself and a few other guests while also filling us with excitement! We stayed with this cetacean for a few more surfacings before turning south to head back towards Friday Harbor. 


Wildlife does what it wants. In today’s case, our Bigg’s Killer Whales decided Canadian side was the proper side for them, while this Humpback Whale revealed itself just in time for us to get some great sightings. Experiences like this keep us on our toes, but they are so worth it!