August 23, 2019

Orcas and Humpbacks and More Oh My!

Jordan | M/V Kestrel | 08/23/19 | 11:00am

 Today was extraordinary!

It was a little touch and go there at the start as we began our tour in the pouring rain. But, everyone really seemed determined to have a very adventurous time despite the wetness! What troopers!

Eventually, the skies lightened, and we were able to dry a bit as we sped down south through the San Juan Channel. Here we stopped to watch roosting cormorants with Cattle Point lighthouse standing beautifully in the background.

Then we bounced over to another rock and spotted Steller sea lions lounging about! Some were sleeping high up on the rocks, others were walking around trying to get comfortable and there were a few swimming in the water!

We also spotted harbor seals nearby just sleeping the day away.

We continued down south towards the Olympic Peninsula and found a humpback whale! The whale swam in circles and fed in the bountiful waters. But, suddenly, the whale burst upwards through the surface with its ventral pleats fully extended and a few baleen plates displayed as the humpback lunged towards a feast of fish. I’ve never seen that in my life! INCREDIBLE! The baleen whale repeated that same behavior multiple times as it fed close to the surface chasing after its tiny prey as birds swarmed the area and pursued the fish stirred into chaos. The sight awed the entire boat. What an amazing encounter.

Already content with the day’s findings, we received another report of whales close by! This time it was killer whales!

We boated even further southeast towards Whidbey Island and found a pod of orca whales! We watched as they swam closely together. They stopped a few times to socialize with each other and swim in circles, perhaps communicating where to travel to next.

We watched as a tiny baby whale, born just a few months ago, swam excitedly around the sea! It was adorable watching the baby whale literally trying to figure out how to be a whale! Just like our babies, baby whales get completely absorbed in watching their mothers and learning every second from their surroundings.

Then, we boated back towards the harbor. But first, we stopped by Long Island and found a wet bald eagle sitting up in a tree! Just below him was a massive nest that he probably helped build with his life-long mate. Maybe, he was waiting eagerly for her to return from a hunt.

Finally, we made it back to the harbor, relatively dry and completely full of smiles!