Two trips, two successes in finding some orca whales! For both trips today, we departed a sunny Friday Harbor and headed south of San Juan Island into the Straight of Juan de Fuca. The adventure boat, M/V Kestrel, held to its name and bobbed and weaved through the waves, zipping through to our destination! We were fortunate being in such a speedy vessel, as whales were towards Victoria on Vancouver Island, but we could still make it in this boat.
For the first trip of the day, we arrived to a family group of transient killer whales, with a big and fun mixture of adult females, adult males, young juveniles, and even baby whales. They were splashing, cartwheeling, and even swimming with their backs to the water and their stomachs to the air as they frolicked around and socialized with one another. In the afternoon, we were able to encounter the same group, but they had separated slightly, and they were in the process of hunting! They were taking deep dives, and we were on a constant Where’s Waldo search to pick them up again, but we had such an excellent group of eyes with our passengers that we weren’t even phased. We soon headed home, and we saw an adult bald eagle who we also heard trilling and chirping in the trees by its nest and fledgling chick, and we also came across some chunky harbor seals hauled out on some rocks by Lopez Island.
All in all, what a day! Another exciting day in the San Juan Islands, and another day filled with orca whales!
Kelsey, Naturalist, Seattle Orca Whale Watching