July 28, 2021

Bigg’s Family Reunion in the Rosario Strait!

Bigg's Killer Whales

 

Maxx K. | M/V Kestrel | 07/28/2021 | 2:00pm

    Kestrel zoomed out of Friday Harbor and began racing towards the mainland, wrapping up and over Lopez and down and around between Blakey and Decatur Islands. It has been a week or two since I’ve been on Kestrel and I’ve forgotten how fast this vessel can fly! Within 40 minutes we were slowed down and already approaching a group of Bigg’s Killer Whales that were making their way southbound along Whidbey Island. 

By the time we arrived on scene they had only just been identified:

  • T034 Grace (~1969, F)

    T034A Pachamama (2007, F)

  • T034A1 —- (2019, —)
  • T034B Sonder (2017, — )

Following closely behind we found : 

  • T037B1 Lance (2012, M)

And two other approaching whales who we assumed to be: 

  • T037B Harald (1998, F) (Lance’s mother)

  • T037B2 Trident (2017, —) (Lance’s sibling) 

    Now what blows my mind about this particular group is that the T037’s are thought to be the grandchildren and great grandchildren of T034. There was a little family reunion happening right before us! Not to mention that the T037A’s were being seen just north of us in the Strait of Georgia. 

    How did all of these families coordinate this? Not much is known about Bigg’s language and communication but Killer Whale calls are thought to travel upwards of 10 miles. Were they all within earshot of one another and able to simply call out? Did they organize a reunion several days in advance? These are the questions that thrill me and truthfully, ill never really know the answer. Whales are forever mysterious and I am so fortunate to be able to witness even just a glimpse into their lives alongside our guests.