May 28, 2021

Bigg’s Killer Whales in the Rosario

Bigg’s Killer Whales Rosario Strait

The day started strong! The sun was bold this morning following a rainy day off. With only a half hour before suiting up for an afternoon adventure tour there were rumors of orcas in the Rosario strait, heading south towards Anacortes. 

Now, if I’ve learned anything in my brief time here thus far, it’s that whales are only rumors until you get eyes on them yourself. I was still hopeful though. 

As soon as the team was suited and booted we hopped onto Kestrel with our Captain Brian and set off towards the Rosario. 

We saw them almost immediately. Rushing against the incoming tide, six orcas came up for breath, one after another, sending a plume of water above them. 

Fortunately, before arriving we had a pretty good idea of who we would soon meet: the T065As. (Little did I know at the time, but they were accompanied by T077 and her calf, T077E). As I would come to learn, this incredible family is made up of Mom, T065A (Artemis), her oldest son, T065A2 (Ooxjaa), T065A3 (Amira), T065A4 (Ellifrit), T065A5 (Elsie), and her youngest daughter, T065A6 (Castillo/Butterbean).  

 

It’s incredible to imagine how hard they must have been working to push against a flooding current like that. I can't imagine how exhausting that must have been, especially for a calf as young as three year old T065A6 (Butterbean). But with the support of her entire family, she made it look effortless!  

We slowly moved away and popped up and around to the Bird Rocks to admire some harbor seals, casually lounging on the rocks. We then allowed ourselves to drift back down to the family of black and whites who had continued pushing their way through the powerful current towards us. We slowly positioned the boat out of their way as they gently glided past us.

It’s moments like this: silently admiring a family hard at work, pushing against a raging current, together, that excite me for a summer here at San Juan Safaris. 

Thank you to everyone who came out with me today!