March 2, 2019

Bigg's Killer Whales in Saratoga Passage

T046's in Saratoga Passage

Sarah | 03/02/2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00pm

Captain Mike and I had a whirlwind of a trip on Saturday that was so incredibly wonderful. Leaving the dock here in Friday Harbor there was a whisper of the potential of some whales spotted from shore far to our south. We decided that it was worth the trip, and pointed in their direction! Traveling down San Juan Channel we stopped to check out some bald eagles and harbor seals before continuing to travel south.

We rounded the bottom of Lopez Island and pointed towards Deception Pass between Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands. We passed underneath Deception Pass bridge and into the calm waters between Camano Island and Whidbey and continued to press south. As we rounded Strawberry Point we started to scan for dorsal fins and blows. In the distance another whale watching boat called us on the radio, “We found them!”

As we got closer we realized that we had a group of Bigg’s killer whales traveling slowly north and spread out. We realized by looking at the dorsal fins and saddle patch marking son each whale that we had a family known as the T046’s. The T046 family is one of the coolest families that we see here in the Salish Sea, T046 surviving a capture attempt in Budd Inlet in 1976… The last live killer whale catpture attempted in Washington State waters. After a great encounter with the orcas we started to head home towards Friday Harbor.

T046's in Saratoga Passage
T046's in Saratoga Passage Sarah McCullagh