Jordan | M/V Sea Hawk | 08/17/19 | 11:00am

What a beautiful day out on the water!

Captain Sarah and I headed out of Roche Harbor on our vessel, the Sea Hawk! We heard reports of the Southern Resident killer whales down south by False Bay and heading north through the Haro Strait!

Excitedly, we booked it down the strait, boated past Lime Kiln lighthouse and headed towards the whales! It was a gorgeous day; the sun was shining, and I had the sweetest group of people chartering our boat for a birthday celebration! Everyone got really excited when we saw our first dorsal fins appear out of the water!

We got closer and closer till we spotted multiple dorsal fins and blows all around the water! We identified the whales as members of J pod! So special! This was my first time in weeks seeing this incredibly endangered population of whales! I felt so happy to see them again. Hopefully, their sudden presence within San Juan waters indicates a potential rise in the Chinook Salmon population.

As well continued to watch the whales, we realized we were mostly watching a specific matriline of J pod called the J16s. The J16s are a family consisting of a mother whale (J16, born in 1972), her huge adult son (J26, also known as Big Mike), and two daughters (Echo and Alki). What a lovely family.

You could see them swimming closely together as they navigated through the Haro Strait searching for as many salmons as they could find! You could see them rubbing up against each other as a form of family bonding time! It’s always really sweet to witness families growing closer together.

Eventually, we headed back towards the harbor.

We rounded Henry Island and watched birds fly by. Then we saw something in the trees! A bald eagle! We saw what looked like a snowball hiding behind branches. He scanned the waters from his tall perch looking for his next meal.

He may have been in luck, because just as we boated away, we saw pink salmon leaping out of the water! Fun!

Finally, we made it back to the harbor. What a fantastic day!