August 5, 2020

Bigg's Orcas Travel around the Outer Islands! (T18/T19s Killer Whale family)

Bigg's Orcas Bigg's Orcas

Erick | M/V Kestrel | 2:00PM | August 8, 2020


It was another bright, beautiful, summer day out in the San Juan Islands! Captain Brian and I took a great group of guests out to look for some exciting wildlife in the Salish Sea! There was a report of some Bigg’s Orcas up near the outer islands! We headed up there through Presidents Channel and soon saw the group near Patos Island. It was the T18/T19s group that has been around for a few days now! This is a fascinating family. There are two older females, T18 (Esperanza) and T19 (Nootka), as well as T19’s two sons, T19B (Galiano) and T19C (Spouter). They looked like they were mostly resting as they traveled back up north towards the border. Orca family groups are matriarchal, so each one is led by the oldest female. T18 here is the mother or T19 and the grandmother of the two males. It is always amazing to see multigenerational families when we come out. We got some great looks as these whales still casually traveled back to where they started the day around the Saturna Island shoreline. This family is known for going into some unusual places. They often go into very small congested channels without a care in the world. After seeing these magnificent creatures cross the borer we carried on our way until we reached Skipjack island where we saw a bunch of Harbor Seals! Our next stop was at the Cactus Islands where we saw four Bald Eagles! They were sitting there watching the swirling waters and us below. We also caught a few glimpses of Oystercatchers too! For our final stop we went to SPieden Island which used to be an exotic game hunting reserve. It is not anymore but there are still a few exotic animals on the island and we saw all three species! There was a big, male Mouflon Sheep, a few female Fallow Deer and a couple terrified Sika Deer prancing in the woods! What another magical day in the San Juans!


Stay Whale folks,