July 18, 2020

Bigg's Killer Whales Travel Inner Island

Transient Orcas near Lopez Island

Olivia | M/V Sea Lion | July 18th, 2020 | 17:30

We initially received word that the same family group of Transient Orca we saw on our 13:30 trip was traveling south away from the island. Trying to get off the dock quickly, we were humbly surprised that they turned INTO San Juan Channel!  We headed towards Shark Reef where we first caught word that they were hunting along the shoreline. Upon arrival, they happen to be on a long dive and ended up surfacing near Big Rock off Lopez Island. We started heading back north and saw them hugging the shoreline once again.

They must have had full bellies because they were slowly milling north up Lopez Island and turning into Upright Channel and into the cross section between Lopez, Shaw, and Orcas Island. It was here that we had the most breathtaking view of Mount Baker I have ever experienced. Best part? The T37A’s were perfectly swimming below, creating photos for our guests that effortlessly defined the Pacific Northwest.

As the evening sun started to lower into that golden hour, we decided to peel off in search of more wildlife in the direction of Friday Harbor. Cutting between the Orcas and Shaw ferry docks, we were blinded by the gorgeous yellow shimmer off the water until we reached the northern tip of Jones Island. It was here that we saw Harbor Porpoise swimming off our Starboard, along with Bald Eagles and Harbor Seals kissing the edges of Flattop Island.

Dipping back down San Juan Channel towards Friday Harbor, I was in awe chatting with Captain Pete about how perfect not only the trip was, but the entire day. These are the moments that catch our heartstrings, the moments we wish we could forever share with others in hopes they feel a connection to the Salish Sea; the same connection that brought us to these magnificent waters in the first place.