April 19, 2018

Bigg's Orcas in the Sun!

Thursday, April 19, 2018 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00 Noon

THE SUN IS OUT! Spending the winter on the island, sometimes you don’t realize how much you’ve been missing the sun until it pops through the clouds to warm your bones; today was one of those days. Happily squinting my eyes, I boarded the boat along with our amazing guests for the day and Captain Brian and I got the Sea Lion into San Juan Channel, headed north. Turning west into Spieden Channel we found ourselves surrounded by our namesake, a huge raft of Steller’s sea lions were floating and drifting, so we turned off our engine and did the same. We watched as these giant animals swam right past us, coming up to breathe before twirling and diving—what a sight!

Turning the engine back over we continued into the Haro and headed south, spreading out with a few other boats as we searched for an unconfirmed report of orcas in the area. Then we got the call, they’d been found! We chugged a little farther south and as we did the giant blows of the T49A’s became visible on the horizon. This group of Bigg’s orcas were busy cleaning up a kill, most likely a harbor seal, and we watched as they did. Once they were done they started socializing, coming up together, rolling, spyhopping, and we even saw a cartwheel! Just breathtaking.

We stayed with these guys for a while before turning around and heading back toward Spieden Channel, along the way we spotted a bald eagle and then a large haul-out of harbor seals resting safe and sound from those nearby predators! Basking in the sunlight, the M/V Sea Lion pulled back into Friday Harbor with another great trip under its belt!