July 29, 2021

Bigg’s Killer Whale Celebration off Lummi Island

Bigg’s Killer Whales

Maxx K. | M/V Sea Lion | 07/29/2021 | 2:00pm

    Today was wild, y’all. Captain Pete and I had no idea what to expect when Sea Lion left Friday Harbor. There were rumors of Bigg’s Killer Whales north of us off the south side of Lummi Island but as we know, whales stay rumors until you see them yourself! We carried on taking the inter-island route, up and over Lopez and through Obstruction Pass. We passed by numerous harbor porpoises during the journey as they surfaced for air in our wake. 

    When we arrived on scene I wasn’t entirely sure who I was looking at. The reports coming out of the area were of several families: the T137s, the T037A’s and a few of their cousins, T036A2 and T036A3. 

    I hadn’t seen any blows of dorsal fins as we approached until BOOM, breaching off the bow. This 10,000 pound beauty launched itself out of the water over and over again, sending waves across the water and cheers across Sea Lion! 

    We watched as the T037As rolled over one another, tail slapping, pectoral slapping and even a few more breaches from the unnamed nugget born only in 2019. All the while, the T137s approached from the north, their blows appearing just beyond the spectacle of whales we had off our starboard. 

    Before we knew it our families joined together. They milled seemingly aimlessly as they moved away from Lummi, first together as one one big Bigg’s blob then they began to separate. Before we knew it a massive male appeared right off our stern. We shut off the engine immediately as the 13,000lb Killer Whale rose for air, his exhalation cutting through the silence with ease. 

    I have to make a huge shout out to all the guests who were able to share their footage of this moment with me. Because of y’all, we were able to figure out that we were in the presence of another whale that was otherwise unaccounted for! 

    Through ID cataloguing we were able to identify this mystery male as T049A2, a 14 year old named Jude. I am forever amazed and grateful for the insane volume of research that has occurred in this ecosystem. Because of the dense wealth of knowledge and compiled identification photos we can identify individual animals and stay up to date on their whereabouts.

    I had a blast on the water this afternoon! Thank you all for coming out and sharing this insane experience with me!!