September 24, 2017

So Many Whales to See In the Salish Sea

Southern Resident mom and calf

09/22/17- M/V Kestrel- 2PM

Today we left Friday Harbor on a beautiful fall day, with a slight overcast and glassy seas.  We first got to see some harbor seals hauled out on some rocks off of Lopez Island.  We then headed to whale rocks where we got to see some Steller’s Sea Lions in and out of the water. 

As we were heading towards our orca reports for the day, we saw a big bait ball that intrigued us, so we made a pit stop.  We were lucky enough to see some minke whales lunge feeding.  We watched as three minke whales surfaced around and inside of the bait ball. 

After getting some really great minke whale looks, we headed out towards reports of our Southern Resident Killer Whales.  The orcas were spread out over a wide distance, most likely looking for some salmon to feed on.  We follow L85, Mystery, a fully grown male, for about 15 minutes as he cruised around.  We then decided to move on to reports of Bigg’s killer whales towards Vancouver Island. 

We watched as the T100’s, a family of six individual whales, slowly traveled North.  All of a sudden the whales stopped near a kelp bed, so we assumed they were probably hunting a harbor seal.  After watching for a few minutes we realized the whales were playing with a stray piece of kelp.  It was fun to watch the whales interacting and playing together!  

Thanks to all of our guests for joining us on such a beautiful fall day! 

Naturalist, Rachel