June 20, 2021

Bigg's Killer Whales on the West Side

Abby | Kestrel | 6/20/2021

Once again, we had the A/B team, Abby (me!) and Captain Brian. We had already been out on the water prior to our trip, and rumors of orcas rang in our ears. Apparently, there were three Bigg’s killer whales near the Orcas Island ferry terminal dock, so we zoomed over in that direction. After a large scan of the area, nothing turned up, so we went towards another loose rumor of a family of Bigg’s killer whales.

We made our way north through San Juan Channel, around Spieden Island, and over to the West side where we found the T049A matriline:

  • T049A (Female, 1986)
    • T049A1 (Male, 2001)
    • T049A2 (Male, 2007)
    • T049A3 (Male, 2011)
    • T049A4 (Male, 2014)
    • T049A5 (Female, 2017)

The only orca of the six that wasn’t present from this matriline was T049A2 (Male, 2007). This could have been for several reasons, although it isn’t uncommon for orcas to travel a few miles apart at times, always circling back to mum at some point.

After seeing these orcas, we went by Whale Rocks where we saw some Steller’s sea lions and harbor seals basking along the shoreline, myself reminiscing of my first meeting with the T049A's.