October 10, 2021

Splashing Humpback Whales in Haro Strait

Haleigh | M/V Sea Lion | October 10, 2021 | 12:00 pm


For our Sunday afternoon departure, we departed from Friday Harbor following up on a report of two Humpback Whales along the West side of San Juan Island. We arrived on scene with these whales traveling north very close together. As they made their way, we got beautiful looks during each surfacing of their humps, notched dorsal fins, and white-marked flukes. One of these whales was ID’d as Vivaldi (MMX0128) for their fair white spots along the left trailing edge of the tail. 


We watched as these whales made their way north, when all of a sudden we noticed some splashing occurring on the surface. Pectoral fins flew through the air followed by the sudden movement of a surfacing whale. A brief pause with no whale movement, and then an enormous breach of a humpback into the air followed by a thudding splash! It was the most incredible sight I have witnessed from Humpback Whales in the area. After the commotion, the two whales separated and eventually surfaced traveling in opposite directions. Perhaps these two were getting a little frisky as some preemptive mating behavior. 


We stayed a bit longer and watched one of our individuals zig zagging. After a longer dive out of the blue, this whale popped up right off of our starboard! It startled everyone on our vessel as we had last seen this whale ~250 yards away. This whale made its way up our starboard and over to other vessels in the area. After this encounter, we decided to leave this whale who was moving southbound. We made our way past Spieden Island to marvel at the nonative animals living there and eventually reentered the harbor. It was a truly spectacular fall day!