North was the direction we headed out of Friday Harbor and it didn’t take long to spot wildlife; a bald eagle was perched high in the tree tops just outside the harbor. Along Spieden Island is where we encountered more wildlife. Harbor seals were hauled out on a rocky island just off the island, and as we motored ahead a bald eagle flew along the island traveling the same pace as our boat! J-pod, the second largest pod in the Southern Killer Whale community, was also around the San Juan Islands today, and we caught up with some of the Orcas off Stuart Island (48º 40.025′ N, 123º 13.402′ W). The whales were spread out and traveling north. We watched as one whale tail slapped in the distance, and another even partially breached in front of our boat! As we saw different whales, we were able to identify “Mike” (J-26) swimming with his mother “Slick” (J-16). I always find it amazing that family really matters to these small pods of whales. Their bond is so strong and you can really see this when watching a 21 year old male swimming at the side of his mom. It definitely was an outstanding whale and wildlife safari.

~Kristen, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris