September 11, 2019

Orcas and Humpbacks Everywhere!

Jordan | M/V Sea Lion | 09/11/19 | 12:00pm

Today was a fantastic day out on the water! Captain Erick and I headed out of Friday Harbor, into the San Juan Channel and up towards the Canadian border.

We crossed under Speiden Island where we saw exotic sheep and deer grazing along the grassy hillside. We even saw an albino fallow deer! It looked supernatural as its pure white fur glowed in the sunlight!

Then we headed up north, across Boundary Pass and towards the Canadian Islands of North Pender and Moresby and up towards Prevost Island. Here, we found our first orca whales!

This pod of four orcas is one of my favorite pods in the whole Salish sea! They have multiple generations of orcas all living together! Grandma, mother and two huge adult grandsons.  We watched as the family meandered through the channel and gracefully swam through the water. It looked like they were potentially sleeping as they swam very close together and breathed simultaneously.

They seemed to wake up as they came closer to shore and searched around the rocky island for any signs of seals! These marine mammal hunters use a stealthy lifestyle to successfully sneak up on their smart prey.

Then, they suddenly turned and surfaced close by! We shut off the engine and the pod passed right in front of our boat! Incredible! We got a great look at the towering dorsal fins. One of the males is actually one of the largest orcas in the entire Salish sea!

Eventually, we said goodbye and headed back towards the south. Along the way we found humpback whales! We spotted one as we neared Moresby Island and another as we approached Jone’s Island! The huge black back burst through the water and you could hear the explosive breath! If you looked closely you could even see the nostrils flaring at the surface. Then, the 15-foot-wide tail popped out of the water before disappearing under the water. Beautiful.

Finally, we headed back home but it was a wonderful day!