May 16, 2021

Humpback Whales Throughout Southern Waters!

Jordan | M/V Kestrel | 05/16/2021 2:00pm

The sun shined high in the sky today as Captain Brian and I took out our speed vessel, the Kestrel, and zoomed out of Friday Harbor.

Turning right, we headed south down the San Juan Channel. We passed Lopez Island and the southern point of San Juan Island called Cattle Point Lighthouse. We speeded into open waters and took in the impressive view of the Olympic Peninsula.

Then, we started to see a couple whale watching boats on the horizon. As we neared, we saw a distant blow and got so excited. We learned it was a humpback whale! In fact, as we caught great looks at his beautiful fluke, we learned it was a whale named Splitfin! He’s one of my personal favorite whales who has been visiting this area for years! He was swimming very erratically as we played a game of “eye spy” every time he surfaced. It seemed as if he was swimming in large circles around the strait as he potentially fed beneath the surface.

Eventually we headed six miles north and found two more humpback whales! They seemed very calm and relaxed as they casually swam parallel to the peninsula. Their shimmery, blubbery backs sparkled in the sun as they surfaced and dove with the snowy mountains in the backdrop.

As we headed back home towards the harbor, we stopped by rocks that had dozens of Steller sea lions climbing around, barking, and snapping at each other. It was super fun to watch. Then, right around the corner, these tiny harbor seals struggled to stay out of the water as massive waves cascaded over the shallow rocks they clung to. Sitting idly by, watching this display was a massive bald eagle. He casually surveyed the scene as he searched for scraps and fish in the water.

Finally, we headed back to the San Juan Island.

What a fun day!