August 30, 2019

Southern Resident Whales Near San Juan!

Jordan | M/V Kittiwake | 08/30/19 | 3:00pm

What a lovely day! Captain Gabe and I sped down through the San Juan Channel, out of Friday Harbor, and past Cattle Point lighthouse, towards the open waters of hope.

The sun had finally come out and the water looked dazzling as it shimmered in the sunlight. We boated and boated following the coast of San Juan and further out towards the Olympic Peninsula.

Then, we found orcas! But, not just any orcas, the southern resident orca whales! This incredibly endangered population of orca whales is a very special sight to see this season. We all felt really lucky to watch as the whales travelled and searched for fish all throughout the waters.

We identified them as J pod, one of the most beloved resident pods. They had scattered throughout the area, so we kept seeing whales all over! Off the bow, behind us, towards 10 o’clock! Every which way, there were more orcas! They often swim far apart as they search for their salmon prey. But even though they swim far away from each other, they can still communicate with each other! They can vocalize across vast distances!

A few times, we shut off our boat and we listened in silence as the whales passed with their powerful blows exploding through the air. Wow.

Eventually, we slowly made our way back home, still spotting more and more whales as we left.

We headed over to these big rocks near Cattle Pass and found Steller sea lions! These massive creatures barked at each other and swam in the water all around the rocks. One even spotted us and swam nearby to check us out! It’s always so cool to see big animals so close!