August 21, 2021

Bigg’s Killer Whales, T65A’s, Stalking Harbor Seals

T65A's traveling together

Haleigh | M/V Osprey | August 21, 2021 | 12:30 pm

 

Today’s classic whale watching adventure led us on a beautiful ride through the islands. We began heading interisland, sandwiched between the lush Orcas Island and Lopez Island. Following a report of some killer whales near Anacortes, we knew we were in for a nice boat ride with a sweet surprise. 

 

Slowing down to move through Peavine Pass, we noticed harbor porpoises swimming through the rippling waters. We continued through the Rosario Strait towards Cypress Island when we caught our first glances at some exhalations… the deep breaths of our killer whales! They were traveling in a tight pack, all surfacing in sync. The large male named Ooxja (T65A2) has a fin that we noticed from more than a half mile away. With him was his mother, named Artemis (T65A), and three out of four of her young calves, named Amira (T65A3), Ellifrit (T65A4), and Callisto (T65A6). The T65A’s are one of the healthiest families we see out here, consistently traveling as a tight-knit family with the calves teaching one another how to feed, hunt, and even play. 

 

We watched them approach an array of rocks with harbor seals hauled out. The suspense built as they neared these rocks, with their dorsal fins piercing through the surface. The closer they got, the more we were convinced we’d see them catch their lunch. A disappearance under the surface had us convinced they were actively hunting. Eventually they ended up passing the rocks entirely, clearly not in the mood to hunt. The excitement of watching them was felt throughout the boat as we turned around and started to head back to Friday Harbor. Folks congregated to the inside cabin to escape the wind chill, drink hot cocoa and enjoy the rest of the ride home.