August 13, 2019

So Much Wildlife Near the Olympic Peninsula!

 

Jordan | M/V Kestrel | 08/13/19 |

Todays trips were amazing!

It all started as Gabe and I headed south down through the San Juan Channel. We boated towards Cattle Pass and saw the beautiful lighthouse off the southern tip of San Juan.

We then stopped by Whale Rocks and watched a bunch of sea lions! These massive animals lumbered around the island and barked at each other! It was so cool to watch them walking around and sleeping in the sun. So glad that these Steller sea lions are finally back from their mating season up north!

We then continued south towards the Olympic Peninsula, boating along until suddenly, there was a whale! Turned out it was a minke whale! So we watched it surface and swim around in circles, most likely feeding off of tiny prey floating in the water. What an unexpected surprise!

Then we continued and boated onward towards the south. Along the way, some of us spotted harbor porpoises and harbor seals swimming in the open water.  

Eventually we reached the orca whales! It was so amazing. It seemed like there were about 15 whales! We identified at least two families of whales all swimming together. There were the T46s, the T46Bs and maybe even one more pod! It was amazing watching this massive group travel together and socialize as they headed east.

Then we spotted a very special whale! T46B1B! This is a tiny baby leucistic whale! He has leucism, a genetic condition that makes his blubber look light grey! Very unique. We watched as he swam really close to mom and enjoyed the glassy waters. We were lucky all day as we boated atop waters comparable to flat lake waters!

We got some really great looks at the whales! Especially a very distinct male! T46D is a huge male with a dorsal fin that has big chunks missing from the edge. It was very exciting to watch him as he showed us his huge body.

Eventually, we headed back towards home as we watched speedy birds fly faster than our speed boat! What a lovely day!