May 22, 2021

Transient Whales Near Friday Harbor AND Splitfin the Humpback

Jordan | M/V Kestrel | 05/22/2021 10:00am

You could not have asked for a better trip than the one we had today! It started off as a classic gray Washington day as Captain Brian and I took the Kestrel out into the foggy waters.

We headed south down the San Juan Channel, past Cattle Point Lighthouse until we stopped at some Steller sealions! There was a few grouped together but one massive sealion was staring at all of us on board and showing off his massive size. It sure seemed like he was the boss of the rock.

 Then we boated towards Smith Island. As we grew near, there was suddenly a huge blow in front of our boat! We immediately stopped and were awestruck by the behemoth humpback whale swimming off our bow. Everyone got excited as it flashed its 15-foot-wide tail, showing us its splotchy white underside before it disappeared beneath the surface. The next few times it surfaced, we noticed its dorsal fin. This unique fin was split in half! It was Splitfin! Splitfin has visited this area for over 15 years and is one of my personal favorite humpback whales. I was so happy to see some amazing views of him today.

Eventually, we decided to visit closer to Smith Island and viewed hundreds of birds perched on the island and flying all around. We even saw two bald eagles perching high on a tower. Then, as we were headed out, we saw a Tufted Puffin!!! I’ve never seen a puffin since I’ve worked here! I was ecstatic to finally meet one.

Then suddenly, we heard chatter on the radio…orcas were spotted! Near Friday Harbor! So, we rushed back towards the island and caught up with the orcas. The sun came out, blue skies opened up and we watched 14 orca whales swimming up the channel! There were two pods socializing and traveling together up the waters. A huge male named T65A2 came close to our boat! Maybe he wanted to say hi. It was honestly such a picturesque experience watching the elegant whales shimmering in the sun with the bright greenery of the island in the backdrop.

What a beautiful experience. I am so happy that all my guests were able to have such a wonderful day.