May 14, 2019

Big Group of Bigg's Orcas Play in San Juan Channel : The T90's, T87, and the T124A's frolic as best as orcas can

Bigg's Orcas

Erick | Tuesday, May 14, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00


Today, we were back in our normal spring weather – so gray skies with light drizzles through out the day. I love this weather because the low-lying clouds scrap along the tree line and the mist that you walk through cools down the temperature and the colors of the islands. Captain Pete and I left with a good group of folks out of Friday Harbor to find out what sort of marine life was out there today. We started out going north in San Juan Channel and very soon saw some blows along the green San Juan Island shoreline! We slowly approached and saw that it was a group of Bigg’s Orcas! These are the type of orcas that prey on marine mammals in the northwest waters. They were also traveling north when we started watching them. We paralleled them as they continued their journey and soon got to see them start to play and socialize. One of the adult males started swimming and rolling around one of the females. A few of them splashed a few times and rolled over showing their white bellies to the sky. This was soo cool since this type of orca usually travels quietly and stoically since they want to avoid scaring away their intelligent mammalian prey. As they continued to roll and play, they passed by O’Neil Island and moved on into Spieden Channel. After watching play for a few more minutes we said our farewells and went off to look at more amazing creatures. We went to Sentinel Island and saw a pair of Bald Eagles perched on a large snag along the shoreline. Next, we went around the west end of Spieden Island towards the Cactus Islands. As we wound in between the Cactus Islands we got to see a bunch of Harbor Seals perched on barely submerged rocks, and quite a few of them poked their heads up through the kelp forest to take a look at us! We next headed towards Green Point on Spieden Island to look at one lazy Steller Sea Lion sunning himself on the rocky shore. We then saw a whole raft of them floating together in the back eddy created by the current moving around the sharp point here. These Sea Lions are massive and are always incredible to see. They soon will migrate north for summer breeding season. The last stop we took was to Flattop Island to look at the nesting Pigeon Guillemots (little sea birds that look like oreo cookies) there. Man, what a wonderful day! Until next time folks.