August 19, 2020
Bigg's Killer Whales on our Sunset Tour!
Sarah | 08/19/2020 | M/V Sea Lion | 05:30pm
We had a lovely evening out on the water surrounded by wildlife in the Salish Sea. We had incredibly smooth water conditions and a beautiful muted light as we set out north from Friday Harbor.
Earlier in the day there had been a group of orcas reported far away from San Juan Island in Canadian waters and by the evening they had worked their way closer to San Juan Island. We quickly headed towards where we thought they might be based on the most recent reports from our colleagues in the Pacific Whale Watch Association. As we arrived on scene, right on the Canadian border in Haro Strait, we realized that we had a group of ten Bigg’s killer whales. By looking at the fins and saddle patches of each whale we were able to identify them as the T028s and the T030s, two families who I don’t think I have ever seen before in my six previous seasons on the water! We had T028 – Khaz, a female born in roughly 1972, and some of her kids T028C – Lluvia (b. 2003), T028D – Gwaii (b. 2007), and T028E (b. 2013) travelling with some of the T030s led by T030 (b. ~1967) herself, with her adult son T030A (b. 1986), T030C (b. 2005), T030B (b. 1993), T030B1 (b. 2012), and T030B2 (b. 2017). It was an incredible evening spent in the presence of these marine mammal hunters.
After a great encounter with the orcas we headed toward Spieden Island by way of Johns Pass. On our way through the south side of Boundary Pass we had surfacing harbor porpoise all around us. As we made it to Spieden Island we got great looks at harbor seals, bald eagles, and the introduced ungulates on the slopes: moufalon sheep, sika deer, and fallow deer.