October 9, 2021

Bigg’s Killer Whales Outside of Friday Harbor, San Juan Island!

Haleigh | M/V Sea Lion | October 9, 2021 | 12:00 pm


For today’s whale sightings, we didn’t have to go too far! We left Friday Harbor pointed North through San Juan Channel where we were united with a family of Bigg’s Killer Whales. Within the group was T60 (Panthera) and three of her five living offspring. T60C (Yelnats) is her oldest living calf born in 2001. T60F (Tigris) and T60G (Unnamed) are her two youngest calves, born in 2012 and 2019. Two of her middle children, T60D and T60E, are notorious for their independence from mom as they are typically only seen traveling off with one another. These angsty teen boys swim to the beat of their own drums and love to go on deep dives. Among the 4 whales we saw within the T60 family matriline, we also saw T2B traveling with them. T2B (Pedder) is a lone female who has no notable living family. Given that killer whales are extremely social, T2B is often seen traveling with others.

On today’s sightings, we saw this family porpoising down San Juan Channel hugging the eastside of San Juan island. As they crossed past the entrance of Friday Harbor, we noticed more splashing followed by the regathering of all of the whales towards the splashing. Circling motion followed, indicating these animals had been hunting and were likely now feeding. After the whales had devoured their meal, we witnessed two spy hops! From there the whales decided to continue south, allowing us to turn away in search of more wildlife. Making our way north we saw the many wild animals that occupy Spieden Island, including Mouflon Sheep, Fallow Deer, Harbor Seals, Bald Eagles, and some swimming Steller’s Sea Lions. We were able to see so much wildlife within the bounds of our trip just in time to miss the rain.