August 21, 2019

Bigg's Killer Whales and Two Humpbacks Just Off Roche Harbor!

Piper | Wednesday, August 21, 2019 | M/V Kestrel | 11:00 AM

This morning there were a few reports of orcas around the Salish Sea, so Captain Gabe and I took some lovely guests out on the Kestrel to check them out! It was a very typical PNW day out, rainy and foggy, but sometimes those days are extra worth it!

We left the docks and headed north towards Waldron Island where T49A1 was swimming off on his own, his family just five miles away, half the distance at which these orcas can hear each other. When we arrived on scene, we saw him surface a couple times before he broke out in a giant breach! We rarely get to see the Bigg’s killer whales breach because when they’re looking for a yummy mammal to eat, they want to sneak up on them, not splash around announcing their presence. He then continued surfacing, heading off in the opposite direction of the family.

We decided to go check them out, so we motored over to the other side of Spieden where the rest of the family appeared to be waiting for him to come back, as they were just milling about near Battleship Island. The sleepy whales surfaced in a tight group, occasionally popping their heads above the water in curious spyhops! It was an amazing sight to see in the eerie fog.

Eventually we pulled away and cruised over to Sentinel Rock. On the way there we spotted a group of harbor porpoises lazily swimming along and when we arrived we found a ton of harbor seals hauled out, resting, possibly hiding from the orcas not too far away! We continued on into John’s Pass and met up with two humpback whales that had been spotted near Turn Point on Stuart Island! The humpbacks fluked many times and we got to see their beautiful tails before heading back to the marina again, spying a bald eagle along the way!!