July 20, 2019

Breathing and Breaching Bigg's!!!

Laura C. | 7/20/2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 1:30/5:30pm

Today was a perfect day out on the water, filled with glorious wildlife!  Our first trip aboard M/V Sea Lion was wonderful, consisting of harbor seals, porpoises and Bigg’s killer whales!  An adorable harbor seal popped up on the port side of our vessel and seemed to be traveling with a mission in mind.  Not too far from this seal, we came across a bunch of seals basking along White Rock!  It is always so much fun to see these pinnipeds relaxing along the rocks and enjoying some nice sunshine.

After checking out some cool harbor seals on White Rock we traveled a little north of Waldron Island.  There we found the T65As and T77s traveling with one another!  Passengers and crew were so excited to see such a large group of killer whales together in the Salish Sea.  The T65A family has a 2018 female calf and this little one was awfully rambunctious today!  Her excitable movements created a contagious energy both in and above the water column!  Two members of this group ventured about 1.5 miles away and just as we ventured over to the area a large male conducted a breath-taking full body breach!!  Breaching is an activity that is completely unpredictable but so welcomed to all whale-watchers alike!  Since we are only able to see a small fraction of a whale’s body as he/she comes to the surface to breathe it is outstanding to see how massive these animals truly are!  It is equally humbling to see such a large and intelligent animal that we still have so much to learn about as a species.

Our 5:30 whale watch was equally amazing!  As we headed north, we heard that our two families of Bigg’s killer whales were still in the area!  Captain Erick wasted no time in steaming out towards the vicinity we last saw our top ocean predators!  Along the way we saw an abundance of harbor porpoises!  The water settled down to almost glass, making the tiny dorsal fins of these porpoises quite visible and fun to follow!  Excitement grew as we approached our whale zone and met a few other whale watching vessels in the area.  Everyone was so impressed to see such a large male in this dual-family group.  His exhalations were so powerful and his surfacings made quite a statement to all passengers on board.

Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, a magical thing happened.  Both families came up at our 8:00 and started surfacing right towards our boat!!  The setting sun in the background perfectly accented their tall exhalations and we saw all their heads come up as they surged through the surface!  With our engines shut off, we were at the mercy of these whales as they traveled right past our bow!  It was an experience of a lifetime and I still have goosebumps thinking about this magnificent moment!