August 15, 2020

Bigg's Killer Whales Swim Around Southern San Juan Island

Transient Orcas at Sunset

Olivia | M/V Sea Lion | August 15th, 2020 | 17:30

The Transient Orca families we watched on our 13:00 trip traveled too far southeast out of our range to view again, but to our delighted surprise, ANOTHER family group of Bigg’s Killer Whales swam into U.S waters that earlier were milling southeast of Victoria, B.C. Initially, these whales traveled into U.S waters near Lime Kiln Lighthouse and were heading northeast at about 8kts. We made the decision to head north around San Juan Island to increase our chances of seeing them if they continued this same pattern.

However, about halfway there the Transient Orcas decided to pull a 180 and start heading southeast instead. This was a great reminder that they are wild, free-willed individuals that go wherever they please and thus, we started circumnavigating San Juan Island. Did I mention how gorgeous, calm, and warm it was out on the water? Bonus!

Just south of Eagle Point, we found the T018/T019’s- a family of four comprising of two adult females and two large males- swimming in the direction of Cattle Point Lighthouse and divided between our 11 and 1 off the bow. We decided to stay put and watch as they joined back up and continued towards Salmon Bank. After spending time mesmerized by their giant, gleaming dorsal fins emerging within the golden rays of the San Juan Sunset, we ended up almost straight down from the San Juan Channel and decided to peel off back up in the direction of Friday Harbor.

With one last stop at Whale Rocks to see Harbor Seals and Steller’s Sea Lions, we continued north passing Harbor Porpoise that swam in the warm coloration of the calm channel. Tonight’s purple, orange, and soft yellow sky was by far one of the most beautiful sunsets I have witnessed the entire summer. All our passengers were just as captivated, taking photos in every direction of the boat. Saying it was a lovely evening would be an understatement.