Lauren Fritz, Naturalist, San Juan Safaris, M/V Kestrel, 06/27/17, 10 am & 2 pm Tours

Some days, it really pays off to be on a boat that can cover some ground and get to some remote locations! We traveled around 50 miles total on our first trip on Kestrel this morning, and wow, it was worth it. J-pod was spread out traveling north just off of Point Roberts. We were able to spend time with the J16’s as grateful observers, excited to see big Mike and his sisters and Mom Slick cruising around. I absolutely love how unpredictable these animals are – we never know what direction they’ll take or what behaviors we might get to see.

Today, the ressies seemed to be relaxing and traveling slowly. They’d covered a significant distance since yesterday, and were hopefully able to nab a few salmon snacks throughout the night and the morning, so it was probably a well-deserved rest we were getting to witness. We were all so happy to be able to see J-pod – I savor every minute I get to spend with these critters! They are definitely facing some serious threats (here’s what you can do to help if you’re interested).

It was a beautiful cruise up to Canada, but we headed back to the harbor to gear up for the second trip of the day. This time, the residents had moved a bit too far north to be in our range, so we turned our bow south and headed in the opposite direction. We flew past Victoria and past Race Rocks – this was the farthest west I’d ever been, and I was blown away! How gorgeous! Vancouver Island has some amazing stretches of shoreline. Down here, we were looking for the T123’s. It seemed that they had made a kill right before we got there, but they were busy heading west, maybe in search of more food or maybe just ready for a change of scenery.

What a treat to see both residents and transients in the same day. Passengers on either trip got some great visuals of these killer whales. How cool is the Salish Sea? Two ecotypes of killer whales, one sea. Come explore with us!

Lauren Fritz

Whale Watch Naturalist

M/V Kestrel