August 26, 2019

Hungry Whales in the Golden Evening Sun

Bigg's Killer Whales in the Salish Sea

Olivia | August 26th, 2019 | M/V Kittiwake | 3:00pm

This afternoon, Captain Gabe, our 10 passengers, and I set out on M/V Kittiwake to find whales that were close by! Leaving Friday Harbor, we immediately found a large bait ball that is always a good sign of marine mammals in the area. We headed south down San Juan Channel and found the same family group of Bigg’s Killer Whales from this morning- the T99’s- between Griffin Bay and Cattle Point. They were swimming southwest pointed towards South Beach and then zig zagged back towards us, and very non-directionally moving about. Being the only boat on scene, this gave us the opportunity to shut down the engine and just observe their movements. They started hunting together, feeding, and lapping back at our bow through the golden afternoon sun. This was an incredible moment watching them in all their pureness before we decided to drift east towards a Humpback Whale.

This Humpback was also the same baleen whale we saw from earlier this morning and was found in the same area. The hungry hippo (fun fact: Hippopotamuses are the closest living land relative to whales) has been non-stop munching near the surface the entire day and was swimming circles around. Still not diving deep for plankton or krill, this guy constantly teased us popping up its back end making him look like he was about to fluke, only to not at all. Can’t complain too hard about being teased by a whale, eh?

On our trip back towards Friday Harbor, we stopped at Whale Rocks to view Cormorants and Steller’s Sea Lions. These sea lions are a crew favorite and we always make a point to stop and see them. Good timing too, because these males were extra chatty, bellowing and diving off the small island into the water. Imagine that, the world’s largest sea lion diving off about 100 yards away from us- so cool! This was actually a big hit and the cherry on top of our wonderful afternoon in the Salish Sea.