July 23, 2019

A "T Party" and a humpback whale in the Strait of Georgia!

Naturalist Erin | M/V Kestrel | 3:00 PM | Tuesday, July 23, 2019

This was a trip for the books! We headed north out of Friday Harbor and headed back towards where we had seen whales on our previous trip, in the Strait of Georgia. We stopped past White Rock, which is a very interesting location. It is important for both birds and harbor seals. There were lots of harbor seals hauled out on the rocks, some of which had pups! There was one pup that was moving around on the rocks. It was dark grey and very adorable. Harbor seal pups only stay with their mothers for a little over a month, and then they head out into the big ocean by themselves. There was also a bald eagle eating something up on White Rock, and a juvenile bald eagle flew in to join it! After watching the seals, we headed toward the Strait of Georgia. 

When we came into the area that there were orcas in, we saw a multitude of whales up at the surface! When we first started watching them, it seemed as if they were socializing. Many of them were breaching, including a few adults and a couple of calves. Others were tailslapping and rolling around. It was incredible. They changed their behavior soon after and began porpoising in the eastward direction. The whales were identified as the T65B's, T65A's. and the T77's. There are 3 big males in the pod, and they were really fun to watch. One of them surfaced pretty close to us at one point, and we got an incredible look at the unique notches in its dorsal fin. We call such a large gathering of Bigg's killer whales a "T party." It's pretty rare to see so many orcas together, and it was certainly an experience to remember. After watching the orcas for a while, we headed toward Patos Island. We got a beautiful view at the lighthouse, and we also got to see a bald eagle's nest! We then headed toward East Point, where there was a humpback whale! We got to see it take a few magnificent breaths up at the surface, and then it was time to head back toward the harbor. It was unforgettable trip aboard the M/V Kestrel. 

Naturalist Erin