Captain “Stoic” Brian “The Whale-Finder” and I had two wonderful trips on M/V Kestrel. We woke up to a true Northwest mist that lifted throughout the morning, giving weigh to beautiful sunny blue skies.

Our 9:00am charter was one of the most exciting trips I have ever worked. Brian and I warmed up the boat, got our guests suited up, and headed North out of Friday Harbor. The skies were improving as we made it to Green Point on Spieden Island to check out some Steller’s sea lions. We watched the massive pinnipeds foraging in the currents of an ebb tide and had some awesome looks as the animals floated past us. After spending time with the fishing sea lions, Brian and I decided to push further north out into Haro Strait to scan a wider expanse of water.

At speed, we started to notice some disturbance in the water about two miles away across Haro towards Gooch Island. Whales! And lots of them! We had stumbled across all of J Pod porpoising south at about 10 knots.

J16s Southern Resident Orca J26 Mike

The cherry on top of our wonderful morning trip was an encounter with some playful Dall’s porpoise. Most excitingly, they were accompanied by a hybrid individual (harbor porpoise x Dall’s porpoise cross).

Dall's Porpoise roostertailing

On our second trip we headed South towards Cattle Pass and out into Haro Strait. The whales we had found earlier in the day had covered about 20 miles, and were currently milling and socializing just outside of Victoria. Working with our Pacific Whale Watch Association partners gives us the best chances of keeping track of wildlife throughout the day. The whales were going nowhere fast, snuggling and socializing, making several directional changes. It was so nice to see those familiar fins after a long absence from the Salish Sea.

Seabird at the surface Whales on the west side J Pod Southern Resident Killer Whales swimming west Southern Resident Killer Whales

Lead Naturalist & Vessel Coordinator Sarah

M/V Kestrel

San Juan Safaris