July 20, 2020

Bigg's Killer Whale Family Spends Third Day Around the San Juan Islands

Transient Orca Hunting

Olivia | M/V Sea Lion | July 20th, 2020 | 13:30

On what felt like the warmest day all summer (I wore shorts for the first time!) we left the dock with a Transient Orca report, which started us of with a boat full of excitement. Heading inner island through Upright Passage, we admired the Shaw and Lopez shorelines while spotting Harbor Porpoise, Harbor Seals, and Bald Eagles. The sun was effortlessly radiating off the water as we caught astounding views of Mount Baker as she looked upon the Salish Sea.

Shortly after boating through Peavine Pass, we headed north in the direction of the Peapod Islands to quickly catch sight of the T37A’s traveling along the Lopez Island shoreline. This group of Bigg’s Killer Whales had been seen in our waters for the previous two days, making this the third day we were able to see them hunt along these passageways. The family had split off, where we were watching four individuals and two more were hunting near the Peapods.

We sat and watched them breathe, travel, roll on one another before drifting off in search of those other two. As we found them, they were in the process of swimming to join up with the rest of the family. At this point, it was a family feast! They started hunting and feeding together. And they had fun! We saw them porpoise and lunge in the same direction, breach, lobtail, cartwheel… they were putting on quite the display!

After listening to them on the hydrophone that Captain Erick dropped into the water, we eventually departed in the direction we came, stopping at some hauled out Harbor Seals before pulling back into Friday Harbor. This was the definition of a great trip… and WARM!