June 28, 2022

A Proper Adventure Tour with a Smoochy Humpback Whale

Maxx K. | M/V Kestrel | 06/28/2022 | 2:00pm

    Sometimes it's really nice to mix things up. We are super fortunate for pretty stellar weather during the summer: sunny skies and little wind. Though every now and again Mother Nature mixes it up on us, and today was one of those days. 

    Kestrel zoomed out of Friday Harbor southbound, shooting out of Cattle Pass and rounding the southern shores of Lopez Island. We stopped at Davidson Rock where we heard rumors of a Humpback whale. 

    At this point the sea was a mess, waves threw us around like a rag doll. It was FUN. Of course we love a flat calm day, it's chill and easy. But a sloshy messy day keeps things spicy and we love a smattering of spice throughout the summer. 

    This humpback was super inconsistent, emerging pretty far off our stern at first then sporadically off our port, next our bow! At one point I swear I could make out its dark grey body passing just under the churning waves at our bow. 

    I love the tension of whale watching; not knowing where the whale is going to surface next, exacerbated by the harsh rocking of the sea. Nine times out of ten I hear the whale before I see it, I like to think i'm pretty used to whales and the visceral sensory experience that is watching them. This whale bested me though, rising out of the water directly off our port at one point and startling the absolute daylights out of me with it's explosive exhalation. 

    We moved away after a little while, stopping at whale rocks to soak in some Steller sea lions before mozzying off back towards Friday Harbor. 

    We stopped once briefly right outside the harbor for one final treat: a Sea Otter lounging in the kelp forests at Turn Rock. I've never seen a sea otter before so I absolutely geeked out. While you hear the occasional report of sea otters here in the Salish Sea, they're super infrequent. This was a pretty small otter too, considering they can reach weights of over 100lbs! What a delightful little nugget.