April 30, 2022

Long Journey South to Chill with some Bigg’s Brothers

Maxx K. | M/V Sea Lion | 04/30/2022 | 12:30pm

    Friday harbor was spooky at 12:30- it softly rained throughout the morning and was gray everywhere you looked. It was a pretty cliche Washington morning but we weren’t disheartened- it can be so much easier to spot whales without the glare of the sun bouncing off the water. A jet black dorsal fin stands out so much sharper against a white gray foggy sky too- haha perhaps this is me trying my best to make lemonade from lemons but hey! 

We ended up journeying far today. Sea Lion moseyed out of Friday Harbor and turned south. The morning began with rumors of two Bull killer whales found traveling through the Juan de Fuca. We love a whale rumor so we set out down the San Juan Channel to aid in the search!

We traveled due south for almost an hour before a slinky Minke whale emerged off our starboard. It was just a glimpse- one breath cycle. Minke whales catch the nickname “slinky” or “stinky minke” because of their unpredictability. Sometimes they’ll pop up off your starboard. The next surfacing might be 400 yards off your stern. They are very unpredictable whales and can be near impossible to keep track of. We continued onward though as the then rumored whales had been spotted. 

We found them soon after. T125A (“Jetsam”) led the charge. This 24 year-old male had an obvious chunk missing from his dorsal fin, about half way down. His older brother T128 (“Flotsam”) raced after him, about 100 yards behind. His dorsal fin is much stockier. 

I’ve met these two brothers once before last season in the exact same spot! Perhaps these boys are privy to the various banks of the Juan De Fuca, rich with nutrients, schooling fish and porpoises. These boys raced out to the west, one after another. We trailed alongside them for about 20 minutes before we left the scene, aiming our vessel towards Cattle Point Lighthouse on the southern tip of San Juan Island. 

It was another long journey back home but of course we had to stop at Whale Rocks to chill out with some Steller Sea Lions before rounding the boat back into Friday Harbor. A brand new island appeared before us: we could see clearly now the rain had gone! *yikes that was cheesy* It was suddenly a beautiful summery San Juan Island. What a nice way to complete a successful San Juan Safaris whale watch. Thanks for joining us, y’all!