July 8, 2021

Spectacular Orca Hunting Encounter Near Anacortes!

Jordan |m/v Kestrel |07/08/2021| 2:00pm

Today was definitely one of my favorite trips of the season. Just want to start by saying thank you to all my wonderful guests! Your passion and intrigue made the trip even better!

The day began as Captain Eric and I headed East out of Friday Harbor, in between Blakely Island and Decatur and then out towards Anacortes. We sped past Anacortes and around Guemes Island. Here, we found Orcas!

We shortly identified them as the T34s and T37s! These two pods were swimming all around this area coming together, splitting apart and searching the waters. When, suddenly, Orcas started leaping out of the water!! Pretty close to our boat, we could see the full beauty of their large bodies as they completely lept through the air! It was incredible. In fact, mother and calf were synchronized jumping! They seemed to be chasing after prey. And our suspicions were confirmed as we started to see chunks of meat and birds swooping in to pick up the pieces. The whales seemed incredibly happy as they shared the kill with their family and friends. Some were tail slapping and splashing around. The two young whales both born in 2017 were playing and rolling around as they fed together. Then they all sat very still and bobbed at the surface for a few minutes just logging in the water and enjoying their meal. One even sat at the surface with a piece of porpoise just hanging out of her mouth! Another whale very slowly approached and took a small nibble from her mouth. I've never seen this behavior like this before. So fantastic.

Eventually they became more active again and started swimming around, finishing up their meal and beginning to travel.

We then decided to headed back towards home. Along the way we found a mother and pup harbor seal! They were lounging on the rocks attempting to escape the approaching tides and keep warm. The baby was so adorable flopping closer to his mother.

Then we boated further and saw a bald eagle perched in a tree. He took off and flew through the area peering into the water to look for fish.

Finally we made it back to the harbor feeling very content with such a special day!