June 29, 2019

Orcas in the Strait of Georgia!

Jordan | M/V Kestrel | 06/29/19 |

Today was a great day full of adventures! Captain Gabe and I took the Kestrel out of Friday Harbor and headed north to reports of whales up in the Strait of Georgia.

We sped up through the San Juan Channel and up towards Waldron Island. We stopped by a group of rocks jutting out of the water called “white rocks.” A few birds were sitting along the rocks and among them we spotted massive bald eagles! It was so cool! The adults had bright white heads that indicated they were at least 5 years old. But then there were juveniles as well! As a young bald eagle, the feathers are completely brown and speckly.

We also spotted harbor seals! They were super cute. Around 5 feet long and 200 pounds, they provide a great food resource for our orca whales! They hung out close to the bull kelp forests in hopes of being slightly more protected against the whales.

Then we headed up north, winding through beautiful islands across Boundary Pass then into the Strait of Georgia. Boating across this mass of flat water, it was lovely to view the distance cities of Vancouver, White Rocks and Point Roberts.

Then we found our whales! Here we found the marine mammal eating killer whales known as transients or Bigg’s killer whales. Specifically, we identified the pods as the T46s and T46Bs. The T46Bs are very popular this year due to their new addition to the family: T46B1B! This very special whale has a rare genetic condition called leucism. This makes his blubber look light gray instead of black! It’s similar to albinism and very exciting to see in nature!

We watched as the two pods mingled together and swam through the water. They searched for prey and even potentially found a seal to share! You never really know what’s actually going on under the water! They might disappear under the water, find, attack and eat a seal all before they surface again!

After watching these beautiful animals living their lives, we headed back home. We sped back down through the islands, passed Orcas Island and found our way back to Friday Harbor. What a lovely day!