August 9, 2020

Humpback Whale Swims Below the Olympic Mountains

Humpback Whale Swims Salish Sea

Olivia | M/V Kestrel | August 9th, 2020 | 14:00

Today’s Adventure Trip was quite a ride south, and it was a gorgeous one! We dipped down the San Juan Channel and stopped just south of Cattle Point in a shallow area called Salmon Bank. It was here that we spotted two Minke Whales feeding in the bait balls. We decided to shut down the engine to watch and listen as they fed in every direction of our vessel. This was a first Minke Whale encounter for a lot of passengers, and they got in on the excitement of trying to predict where they will pop up next!

After spending time watching the Minke Whales emerge into the sun-soaked waves, we carried on south through the Strait of Juan de Fuca in search of a rumored Humpback Whale reported milling southwest. We made it almost the entire way to Dungeness Bay before finding the sleepy Baleen Whale. This solitary Humpback Whale was traveling a whopping 3kts west, averaging 3-minute dives, surfacing for 3 breathes before sinking below the surface again.

The water down here was calm, quiet, warm, and sunny nestled below the pristine Olympic Mountain Range. Being the only boat on scene for almost our entire experience with this ocean giant made us feel that more connected to those serene, unseen moments that occur in the Salish Sea. The rawness of experience felt peaceful and then instantly breathtaking as the whale finally fluked twice for us. The soft drops above the surface greeted the cold body of water and we decided to make say our goodbyes and head back towards the island.

Before traveling back up the channel, we made one last stop at Whale Rocks to check out that dinosaur of a species- Steller’s Sea Lions belching at their favorite haul out location. With Harbor Seals swimming between the kelp beds we finally worked our way back towards Friday Harbor with an all new appreciation for the tranquility this trip provided.