June 13, 2022

Humpback Whale in Haro Strait

June 13th, 2022

Abby Dahl

12:30pm Osprey

It was a windy day in the harbor. After departing the dock and spotting multiple bald eagles along the Friday Harbor Labs treeline, we made our way north through San Juan Channel. We passed Spieden Island and turned west pas Roche Harbor at the northern tip of San Juan Island. There were reports of a humpback whale traveling in an unpredictable pattern through Haro Strait. The whale hadn’t been seen in 45 minutes, so our trip turned into a scavenger hunt of sorts.

The naturalists took to the helm, binoculars in hand. We looked for something, anything that could point us in the direction of this humpback whale. As I scanned, I came across something that suddenly ducked below the water. The sun reflected off a dark figure that was at the surface. I told my fellow crew and we waited. Finally, an exhalation. We had found the humpback whale from our sighting report. Guests cheered and applauded as we told them over the microphone, a reaction I wasn’t used to. The enthusiasm of the group was unmatched.

We were with the whale for some time and had some amazing looks. The individual had a noticeable propeller mark on it’s dorsal fin, and could have potentially been a whale we know as “Split Fin.”

After leaving the leviathan, we rounded Turn Point on Stuart Island, the northwestern-most point of the lower 48 states. We did the “Spieden Shuffle,” venturing down the length of the infamous island and spotting harbor seals, moufflon sheep, and more bald eagles along the way.

As we came back into the harbor, the wind still howled, and the sun shone to reveal the unrivaled beauty of the Salish Sea.