July 6, 2019

J11's, J16's, and a humpback whale!

Erin | M/V Kestrel | 11:00 AM | Saturday, July 6, 2019

What an amazing trip aboard Kestrel this morning! We started our trip heading north out of Friday Harbor. We found out that members of the critically endangered Southern Resident population were travelling from Canada into U.S. waters! We headed toward Waldron Island and saw the orcas inshore towards Saturna Island. They were members of J pod. The Southern Residents haven't been back into the inland waters of the Salish Sea for a couple of months, so it was an absolute joy to be able to see them! The whales were identified as the J11's and the J16's. There were two big males in the group of 9 whales. As we watched them, they began to head offshore in our direction. We got to see them surfing the leftover wake of some of the boats that passed them by, and they were all travelling together in a tight pod. It was such a thrilling encounter.

After viewing the orcas, we headed north toward East Point in search of some humpback whales. We ended up spotting a humpback whale, and it was taking very short dives-about three minutes on average. It appeared that the whale was an adult humpback whale, and it had almsot a fully black fluke.We got to see its tail almost every time it dove-it was incredible! We headed back towards Friday Harbor and stopped by White Rock, where there were harbor seals hauled out of the water and a majestic bald eagle resting on top of the rocks! It was an unforgettable day on the water. 

Naturalist Erin