Today we took our kittiwake charter northwards towards the Canadian Gulf Islands, a gorgeous boat ride past small, tree-topped glacial islands and small waterways boasting seal-filled rocky shores and expansing bull kelp mats. Our goal today was East Point off of Saturna Island to follow up on reports of transient killer whales moving westward from Skipjack Island.

When we arrived, a family of five transients were traveling in a tight formation towards Tumbo Channel. We watched them surface often, releasing powerful blows of mist into the air and boasting a variety of dorsal fin sizes. In this family group was a few adult females, two calves, and a sprouting male. As they entered Tumbo Channel, a small waterway between Saturna and Tumbo Island, we decided to move on and observe other wildlife and let these whales navigate the channel in peace.

We headed south to cut through the Cactus Islands and skim the back of Spieden Island. There we saw adult seals and pups hauled out on rocks and swimming alongside the boat. We also observed some of Spieden’s iconic exotic deer traversing the cliffsides in search of fresh groundwater. We then headed back to Friday Harbor to enjoy a sunny summer day.

Naturalist Sarah C.

M/V Kittiwake

San Juan Safaris