July 1, 2019

SO Many Orcas Socializing Above Orcas Island

Jordan | M/V Kestrel | 07/01/19 | 11:00 am

Happy Canada Day!! Today was absolutely gorgeous as the sun glistened high in the sky and warmed the Washington air.

Captain Pete and I took the Kestrel out of Friday Harbor towards the north. Immediately, we received multiple reports of whales throughout the northern American Islands. Excited, we headed that direction.

Along the way, we stopped by White Rocks. Here, we saw so many seals! These harbor seals were literally laying on top of each other as they flopped around the tiny island. They were so cute as they cuddled like puppies.

We also so two huge bald eagles! These birds were probably a mated pair surveying the area for any food scraps to steal or fish passing by.

Then we continued up past Waldron Island and up towards Patos Island. We stopped to view a gorgeous lighthouse with Baker standing tall in the distance. Beautiful.

Then we spotted orca whales! These transient orcas were being very stealthy as they took deep dives and searched the area for harbor seals or porpoises. Being very quiet allows them to sneak up on prey and listen carefully for any prey in the distance. We identified this group as the T65As! This is one of my favorite families, so it was really nice to see them.

But eventually we headed towards other reports of orcas towards Matia Island off the northern shores of Orcas Island. Here, we found so many whales! I couldn’t even count all of them! At LEAST 15 whales from what we could estimate. We identified the T101s, and the T36As but there were definitely other whales in the mix as well. It was very exciting to watch all the whales socializing together. We spotted a lot of tails waving in the air, a couple baby whales kept leaping out of the water and many of the whales kept swimming really close together, rubbing against each other.

One huge male I recognized as T102 swam really close to our boat! Captain Pete shut off our engines as they passed by. So exciting! One whale rolled around, showing us his belly as they swam off our bow.

I’ve never seen so many transient orcas all together! What a magical experience!

Eventually, we headed back home really content with the day’s sightings.