April 3, 2021

Double Whammy with BOTH Residents and Transient Orcas!

Jordan Higgins | M/V Sea lion | 04/03/21 |1:00pm

Today was such a special day! It is pretty rare that we see both the Southern Resident Killer Whales and the Transient Orcas in one trip. I felt very lucky and I’m fairly sure all my guests felt the same way.

Captain Pete and I began the day like any other, boating out of Friday Harbor and listening to any reports of orcas in the area. We got word from a research vessel that the Residents were only a few minutes away! So, we headed north up the San Juan Channel. We soon saw the bright white blows glowing in the sunlight and giving us a gorgeous view against the backdrop of the dark island shoreline. The research boat had already identified the group as being J Pod! One of the most beloved pods in the world. All 25 whales gracefully swam up the channel, casually pursuing the shoreline for food. We watched them until the group began to split in two and we decided to search for other wildlife.

But then we received another call! Whales on the west coast of San Juan had been spotted. We booked it around the northern point of San Juan and back down towards the Canadian border.

The giant dorsal fin pierced through the water and it was easy to spot as we slowly approached. As we looked at pictures and compared the dorsal fin to the ID guide, we identified the whale as T10B! Born in 1983, he impressed our guests with his size and power as he surged through the water.

We watch him in awe for a while but eventually had to head home. We boated back towards Spieden Island and paused to admire the mounds of massive Steller sea lions. Two of them were furiously fighting and throwing their bodies at each other. What a sight!

Finally we headed towards Friday Harbor, enjoying the calm waters and taking in the scenery.

It was so nice to meet so many amazing people on my boat. Thanks again to the kids who asked such great questions! And Happy Birthday to two people on board!

Today definitely felt like the perfect gift