June 16, 2019

Lone Killer Whale and Humpback Whales Take Over the Salish Sea

Bigg's Killer Whale in the Salish Sea Humpback Whales near Saturna

Olivia | June 16, 2019 | M/V Kestrel | 11:00am / 3:00pm 

What an incredible adventure Captain Gabe and I had out on the water today! For our 11:00am tour we headed north around Spieden Island where we viewed many Harbor Seals and Bald Eagles. We didn’t hang out too long, as we wanted to continue towards our whale sightings. As we traveled through Swanson Channel near Moresby Island, we caught our first glimpse of a lone male Bigg’s Killer Whale known as T77A who is often seen traveling alone or joining up with other family groups. He was quite playful with a few buoys which was very fun to see. It’s always a nice reminder at how similar these marine mammals are to us. We happened to view some Harbor Porpoises fleeing the scene to stay clear of these larger marine mammal predators that can swim at speeds more than doubling their own.  After hanging out and viewing him for a while, we decided to follow our other positive whale report and see two Humpback Whales traveling together near South Pender Island. These two individuals were identified as Divot and Stitch who are commonly seen feeding together. This is especially nice since Humpback Whales are primarily solitary within their feeding grounds.

After having a quick turn around getting back from the morning trip, we set out on the afternoon one in hopes of seeing these same individuals while they were still in our range. We received word that our Humpback duo was currently in a “No Go Zone” where we cannot boat, making our adventure towards T77A an obvious choice. This time, he moved a bit further away through Plumper Sound and Navy Channel. We were able to view him hunting and traveling all the way through Active Pass. Our small group of people loved the evening sun silhouetting that large, black dorsal fin of the 23-year-old Orca as he exhaled with every breathe. He started to swim about 12 knots further away and we decided to travel around the north side of Saturna Island towards the Humpbacks who were making their way out into passable waters. Once we neared Patos Island, we saw those large tail flukes! This means we were able to see two different cetacean species on both of our trips! What an unbelievable day for not only our passengers, but the crew as well.