June 28, 2019

Bigg's Killer Whales Radiate Rosario Strait

Bigg's Killer Whales near Cypress Island

Olivia | June 28, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 1:30pm

It is always nice to leave the dock with potential whale sightings in our range. We decided to boat right between Shaw and Lopez Island and cut through Obstruction Pass to pop out over by Cypress Island in the Rosario Strait. On our way over there we passed many Harbor Seals which provided us with good set up conservation on balance in the ecosystem and how we start to see an increase in Bigg’s Killer Whales when there is a spike in the small Pinniped population. The beginning of the tour felt like it whizzed by with so many great conversations around the boat- chatty passengers always make me smile!

Not too far after leaving Obstruction Pass, we found two family groups of Bigg’s Killer Whales traveling together. There were around 9-10 individuals from the T36B’s and T99’s. Primarily females and young calves that haven’t sprouted yet, we were not able to see any large, towering male dorsal fins. However, we had one tiny calf (if you count 6-8 feet at birth tiny) that was particularly spunky! This little tike decided to really show us how playful it was and continuously breached, spy hopped, and smacked its black and white tail. It is always so humbling when all the engines are shut down and everyone takes a moment to just listen to these whales breathe. That acknowledgment of how similar they are to us is a very captivating connection.

On our way back, we took the long trip around Orcas Island where we were able to see Harbor Porpoises randomly swimming by! Co-Naturalist Jordan walked around with some of our educational materials to show the skeletal structure of the whales we just saw, while I walked around with the iPad displaying the family groups we had viewed on our identification catalog. I love doing this not only because it allows me to explain the alphanumerical naming system of the transient Orcas, but also illustrate just how different they all really are! I would say today was a success and already cannot wait to experience it again- please come join me in sharing this experience!