May 11, 2019

Morning Adventure Tour from Friday Harbor with Humpbacks!

Humpback whale flukes

Sarah | 05/11/2019 | M/V Kestrel | 11:00am

We had an amazing late morning/early afternoon trip out in the Salish Sea with our Adventure Tour! We had incredibly clear skies and buttery-smooth waters, enjoying amazing views of the surrounding mountains as we cruised. We decided to leave Friday Harbor and head north, as there was an early morning rumor of some humpback whales in the southern stretches of the Strait of Georgia.

We drove through President’s Channel and onward towards the outer islands of the San Juans: Patos, Sucia, and Matia. We stopped just south of Patos to catch a glimpse of some harbor porpoise surfacing, before pressing on into the ebbing tide towards the amazing lighthouse on the west side of Patos. While we were grabbing photos of the lighthouse a male Steller’s sea lion surfaced in the tide rip.

After a great stop at the lighthouse we pushed north into the Strait to encounter two well-known local humpback whales BCY0160 “Heather” and BCY0458 “Raptor.” We can identify humpback whales by their unique tail flukes and dorsal fin shapes, and without ever touching them or attaching tracking tags researchers all over the North Pacific can keep track of their movements. We got to witness several fluke-up dives and paired surfacing from the two whales.

We decided to head further north into the Strait of Georgia to have a look for any other wildlife we could find. We stopped in the Belle Chain Islets to look for bald eagles and harbor seals, and then caught another glimpse of a bald eagle as we cut into the interisland waterway to point for home in Friday Harbor.