July 7, 2019

Whale Trifecta in the Salish Sea!

Transient Orca Breach Humpback Whale Photo by Tori Lee

Olivia | July 7th, 2019 | M/V Kestrel | 11:00am

Today we started our adventure tour by finding two bald eagles right away inside Friday Harbor! Such a good spot after finishing the wildlife talk. We decided to head south down San Juan Channel into the Strait of Juan de Fuca where two of our whale sightings were. On the way down, we stopped at Whale Rocks and Spotted Harbor Seals snoozing along the shoreline as well as heaps of Gulls and Cormorants. Did you know the bodies of the Cormorants act as a wet suit and keep that base layer of water close to their skin to help them stay warm during their deep dives, and also sleek out as they reach that depth? Birds are neat.

 

Shortly after passing Cattle Point Lighthouse before reaching Hein Bank, we stumbled upon a Minke Whale that caught us by surprise! They are called ‘’Slinky Minkes’’ for a reason, so after we saw about three surfacing’s, we didn’t see it again and carried on. We traveled down towards Port Angeles where we came across a Humpback Whale! This individual was quite small yet and averaging about 4-minute dives, allowing us to chat while under water and watch in amazement at the surface. We decided to watch it fluke about three times before we carried on to the Bigg’s Killer Whales! 

 

At this point it started to rain, which we chalked up to being a part of the adventure! Don’t worry, everyone stayed dry under our heavy-duty exposure suits. The Orcas, especially that young calf, must have loved playing in the rain because we started to see breaching, lobtailing, pectoral fins, and that calf being flipped into the air! On our way back across the Strait of Juan de Fuca we viewed many Cormorants fly with our boat, as well as Harbor Seals swimming about. It’s not every day we get the Whale Trifecta, but we are sure happy they brought the sunshine in all of this (typical) Pacific Northwest rain.