August 20, 2019

Bigg's Killer Whales and some Killer Wildlife!

Piper | Tuesday, August 20, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 1:30 PM

Leaving the docks in Friday Harbor today, Captain Pete, naturalist Erin, and I had a few options for whale sightings, which is always an awesome way to start the day! We decided to head north in San Juan Channel and hang a left in Spieden Channel where we spotted a few super cute harbor porpoises swimming along, likely unaware of the group of Bigg’s killer whales swimming just ahead!

We arrived on scene shortly after with the T46Bs, including the T46B1s, which have as their youngest member the likely leucistic “white whale” T46B1B (Tl’uk)! These eight whales were swimming south through the Haro Strait. We watched these mammal-eaters surface again and again for air as they traveled down the way. They passed fairly close to a group of harbor porpoises, one of their favorite snacks, but they didn’t go after them, so they must have had full bellies already, which is great (and good news for the porpoises…)!

After a while with these animals we turned around and headed back through Spieden Channel, this time getting to check out a ton of wildlife! We spotted loads of harbor seals hauled out on the shores of Sentinel and Spieden Islands, as well as lots of bald eagles spread along the hillside, perched in trees overlooking the waters. We even got to see mouflon sheep, fallow deer, and sika deer, which are all the exotic animals left over from when Spieden was a trophy hunting destination!

Continuing down towards Friday Harbor we chatted all about the family of orcas we saw and got to look at the ID guide for those animals which was super fun! Another great day on the water!