May 21, 2018
Three Humpbacks, Three Breaches, One Stunning Tour
Sunday, May 20th | M/V Kestrel | 10:00 AM
This morning the Kestrel powered up and took off north into San Juan Channel. Led by Captain Gabe, myself and our group of guests explored the waters between the Wasp Islands and up into President Channel before arriving at Patos Island to get a magnificent view of the lighthouse which marks the northernmost point of the San Juan Islands and the division of the east and west passages along the archipelago. The lighthouse has been in operation since 1893, originally just as a simple post light, with the standing 38-foot tower built in 1908.
We then crossed Boundary Pass into Canadian waters and made great time as we motored all the way up into the Strait of Georgia off Galiano Island. Here we found what we first thought was two humpback whales swimming south but after a couple breaths from these two whales, suddenly there was a third blow!
Three humpback whales were headed straight for the San Juans. They were surfacing all together now, swimming in a tight group when out of nowhere one of them breached! The 45-foot whale was suddenly towering over the water before twirling and splashing down into the Salish Sea. Just a couple seconds went by before the whale repeated this leap, tossing his pectoral fins in the air and crashing down. The whales went back to swimming, consistently going on medium-depth dives, half-heartedly flicking their flukes in the air as they did so. Just before we headed south again we were treated with one final, epic breach and we said our goodbyes.
On our way back towards Friday Harbor we spotted a haul-out of Steller’s sea lions at Boiling Reef and listened as they roared and growled at each other from the rocks, their giant blubbery bodies lumbering past one another.
We then began our final leg home reminiscing on the amazing wildlife we’d just witnessed and the splendor of the Salish Sea.