August 7, 2019

Bigg's Killer Whales a Few Miles from Friday Harbor!

Bigg's Killer Whales

Laura C. | M/V Sea Lion | 8/7/2019 | 1:30pm

Today’s whale watch was outstanding!  With Captain Pete behind the helm, M/V Sea Lion ventured eastbound to see some Bigg’s killer whales!  We were so happy to find the T019s so close to Friday Harbor, right around Blakely, Shaw, and Orcas  Island!  This family of four was on the move today!   We all watched with enthusiasm as these whales circled around the islands, potentially in search of prey! 

This killer whale family includes two very large males, one with a curved and floppy dorsal fin!  The extreme variation of dorsal fins allowed guests to distinguish them as individuals and see their unique traits.  We can also tell individuals apart based on their different colorations and markings along their saddle patches.  These two males definitely have some scratches and aged scars from their previous rowdy behavior.

There were several private vessels in the area since these whales were so close to nearby islands.  At one point this family popped up right along our starboard side as they aimed towards the direction of a nearby channel!  We all had awesome looks at these beautiful animals and could really appreciate their sheer size and power!  They continued past a working ferry and luckily this vessel stopped as the whales continued across the ferry’s bow.  All the passengers on the ferry rushed to the front of the boat to get a closer look or maybe their first look at killer whales!  It was very amusing to see and the passengers aboard Sea Lion laughed in appreciation.

We continued on after spending our time with the T019s and found some harbor seals close by!  They were basking along some rocks and we could spot a few smaller individuals with our binoculars.  The day would not be complete without observing the neat pelagic birds and bald eagles in the area!  These animals complete our ecosystem and are a reminder of the water’s productivity.  It was a full day out in the Salish Sea and a great whale watching experience with Bigg’s killer whales!