July 24, 2019

Bigg's Killer Whales Traveling Through the San Juan Islands

Olivia | July 24th, 2019 | M/V Kestrel | 11:00am

It was a beautiful morning as we were able to leave the dock with a reported whale sighting. Earlier that morning, prior to the trip, Captains Brian and Sarah casually boated around to see what whales were gracing our waters when they stumbled upon a family of Bigg’s Killer Whales heading north through the San Juan Channel. Although it is never a for sure thing until we are actively looking at them, especially with marine mammals that can travel over 100 miles in a day, it sure does reassure us at the start of our trips.

We headed out of Friday Harbor, traveling north towards South Pender where we were able to find this same family group of Orcas- the T65A’s (minus their 15-year-old male, T65A2) as well as the T65B’s. These Orcas were milling about along the islands, still casually heading further north. Personally, I love the T65A family group that usually comprises of 6 individuals, including a teenage male with that tall dorsal fin, and a small calf that is so adorable! Some families we see more often than others, and this happens to be one of them.

After spending some time talking about and gushing over these apex predators, we headed back south through John’s Pass where we looked at many Harbor Seals lounging on the shoreline. We continued through the Cactus Islands on the north side of Spieden and witnessed more Harbor Seals, including a mum carrying her young pup on her back while they swam in the shallow waters. Perched on the opposite shoreline of this Pinniped duo, we viewed two Bald Eagles balanced in a tall pine scanning the horizon.

With our Company Owner on the water as our Captain today, it was fun to hear his 20 years of experience in the Salish Sea. Come chat and learn from our many knowledgeable Naturalists and Captains as we do our best to captivate you with the lush biodiversity of the San Juan Islands!