July 1, 2019
Bigg's Killer Whales near Orcas Island!
Erin | M/V Sea Lion | Monday, July 1, 2019 | 2:00 PM
What a beautiful afternoon aboard M/V Sea Lion! We began our trip heading east out of Friday Harbor. We saw some upwelling and currents almost immediately after we left the harbor. It was neat to see all of the slick patches in the water. We made our way through Pivine Pass and ended up on the east side of Orcas Island. We headed toward Peapod Rocks because we were going to try to see some harbor seals, but on our way there we spotted some orcas! When we first started watching the orcas, they were all split up. There were three whales close to us, and three in the distance. Throughout the encounter, they began to come together and started travelling quickly. It seemed like they could have been in pursuit of some prey. Within the group there was a clear male. He was identified as T77A. He was travelling with the 124A's. He is a "lone male," so he often travels alone, but he is seen with different family pods as well. We got to watch the whales for a long time, and we even got to turn our engines off to hear them exhaling! It was incredible.
When we left the whales, we went toward Peapod Rocks and saw some harbor seals! They were hauled out on the rocks. A few of them were moving around and attempting to get into and out of the water. There were no pups on the rocks, but it is the start of pupping season here in the Salish Sea! After watching the seals for a little bit, we headed back toward Friday Harbor. On our way, we got to see the pod of orcas again. This time, they were joined by a host of gulls who were diving into the water and grabbing things. It is possible that the pod caught some prey and the gulls were picking up scraps. A few of the podmembers were tailslapping and breaching, which made for a lovely end to our wildlife tour. Until next time, folks!