June 20, 2019

Bigg's Killer Whales seen passing Lime Kiln Lighthouse

Bigg's Killer Whales Traveling

Laura C.| 6-20-19 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00pm

What a spectacular day out on the water!  We traveled south through San Juan Channel towards Cattle Point and our first marine mammal encounters consisted of Steller’s sea lions!  It was so exciting to get some up close and personal looks at these charismatic creatures basking in the sun and jumping in and out of the cool water.  There were a couple of massive males present on the rocks as well!  These sea lions were quite active today and it was awesome to see them enjoying their habitat as we cruised around the rocks.

 We rounded Cattle Point and headed north where everyone was thrilled to see a family of Bigg’s killer whales traveling near Lime Kiln lighthouse.  The T124As made quite an impression on pedestrians surrounding Lime Kiln state park as they crossed the beautiful backdrop.  Mom and calf stayed a little on the outskirts of the coastline as the rest of the family hugged the rocks as they moved north.  If the family had an agenda of hunting in the area, this pair would have also reaped the benefits of any catch made today.  Sharing prey is such an important bonding and familial experience for these killer whales, and as a newcomer the calf would not want to miss out on this opportunistic learning experience!  It is always so exciting to see a calf on these whale-watching excursions, showing a healthy growing population of killer whales in the Salish Sea!

Our Captain Erick then decided to venture northbound, and we were pleasantly surprised to find a trio of Bigg’s killer whales traveling near Sidney Island as we were looking for the T65As.  These whales were surfacing with gusto and we had awesome looks as they cruised along our port side!  We were surprised by a harbor seal as this adorable creature popped up right along the side of our vessel!  This harbor seal was probably relieved to see some surrounding vessels in the area to use as potential shelter in case these killer whales decided to hold up to their names.  It was not surprising to see this seal quickly traveling south in the opposite direction as our orcas moved north.  The T65As were in the area as well and we could also appreciate their impressive blows as we stayed with the trio at hand.  It was a full trip this afternoon filled with multiple families of Bigg’s killer whales, Stellar sea lions and harbor seals!