July 17, 2017

It's Another Transient Party by Patos Island!

Lauren Fritz, M/V Kestrel, 7/17/17, 2:00 pm Tour

M/V Kestrel had a smooth, eventful tour today. The weather was perfect, light breeze, glassy seas. We were in high spirits as we pulled off the dock in Friday Harbor, ready to search for whatever wildlife nature wanted to show us. In such a biodiverse area as the Salish Sea, almost anything is possible. We had barely picked up speed before we spotted our first bald eagle! I took it as a good sign for the rest of our trip - and wow, we were not disappointed!

Right off of the Sucia and Patos Islands in the northern San Juans we encountered the T46's frolicking, and most likely hunting, in the shallow waters off of the shoreline. It was a prime location for them to find seals, which is more than likely what they were snacking on when we arrived on scene. We even saw some tail slaps and some rolling from a few of the whales, quite full and content after a hearty meal of harbor seal. It was remarkable to watch their progression from hunting, to feeding, to socializing, to traveling. When these whales had eaten their fill and splashed around a bit, they wasted little time in turning sharply north and picking up speed. These animals were practically flying through the water; we watched them start to porpoise, a behavior we often see when these animals are trying to pick up speed and cover some distance in a short period of time. It's phenomenal to see their body flying up out of the water with such power and grace. After watching this for a bit, we turned west and headed towards Skipjack Island to see a different family pod!

The T77's were out frolicking and socializing in the middle of Boundary Pass, enjoying the evening and each other's company. We watched them surface sporadically, slap their tails, and even spy hop for us before we turned and headed back towards Friday Harbor. We can't deny it - we're pretty spoiled on a day like today, when there's multiple orca pods for us to cruise by and check out in a single trip. It's been an absolutely wonderful season so far, and I'm excited to see what else lies in store for us. Want to see for yourself? If you haven't been out with us, or if you have and you'd like to come experience the excitement of a whale watch in the San Juan Islands again, cruise on over to our website and book today!

It was a pleasure having all of our guests out on the water today. I've posted some favorite photos of the trip below - take a look! Did you get some amazing photos of your own? We'd love if you'd post them to our Facebok page or your own social media accounts and #sanjuansafaris!

Lauren Fritz, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris