July 23, 2019

Orcas in the Strait of Georgia!

Naturalist Erin | M/V Kestrel | 11:00 AM | Tuesday, July 23, 2019

What an incredible trip aboard the M/V Kestrel this morning! We left Friday Harbor and headed north. It was a sunny day and there were a few reports of whales in the area, so we all felt as if there were exciting times ahead! We stopped by White Rock, which is an important refuge for seabirds and harbor seals alike. We saw about thirty harbor seals hauled out on the rocks, and we also saw some swimming around in the water. There were a few harbor seal pups on the rocks as well. We saw some aquatic displays by some of the males, which are used during breeding season to get the attention of the females. After watching the seals for a while, we continued north toward the Strait of Georgia. 

When we got to East Point, which has a lighthouse, we saw some boats ahead that were watching whales. The whales were heading east when we first saw them. There were 4 whales total, and one of them was a big male! The whales began to swim pretty quickly, and they split apart. The male, who was identified as T65A2, headed towards Patos Island, and the other whales headed north. For a while, it was hard to decide which whales to look at, but we ended up turning towards the other whales, who were identified as the T65B's. T65A2 was travelling with his aunt and his cousins. Eventually, the T65B's led us back south towards Patos Island, and then two of them began porpoising west. Meanwhile, one of the other ones stuck behind and began tailslapping and breaching. We got to see it breach at least 3 times pretty closeby! It was absolutely magical. Shortly after the breaches, T65A2 rejoined his aunt and cousins, and they began porpoising quickly west. It was possible that the whale who breached was trying to communicate with T65A2 to tell him to rejoin the pod. After making memories to last a lifetime, we went back toward Friday Harbor. The ride back was lovely. Until next time, folks. 

Naturalist Erin