July 6, 2017

Even MORE Transient Killer Whales in the San Juan Islands

A transient orca swims near the San Juan Islands

[7/6/17- M/V Kittiwake- 11:00AM Charter]

If you’re reading this and have already been out to the San Juan Islands, then I might be stating the obvious, but this area is STUNNING. And, today was no exception! Sunny and 75, we chugged out of Friday Harbor from San Juan Island to see what we could see.

The trip was off to a great start as we approached Speiden Island and saw some bald eagles. There was a single individual who was perched on a treetop, but behind it in the sky were about 4 others soaring overhead, perhaps spying some carrion to scavenge on. We slowed and soon approached some harbor seals hauled out on a rocky outcrop who were quite content in the late-morning sun- as were we! We even were fortunate enough to see some harbor porpoise just afterwards, and they darted along the water line and then quickly disappeared as soon as they came. The trip was off to a great start!

Shortly after we ventured into Canadian waters, we finally approached some transient killer whales! Whoo! There were two separate groups, both parts of the same family pod, the T101’s. We first watched an individual who was roving alone. He was a large male, probably just out to get some alone-time. Big and beautiful, we were in awe of how gracefully he moved through the waters. We next shifted over to the other members of the family with a lead female and at least two males. One of the males was even more massive in size than the first we saw, and each time we saw him come above the water we caught our breaths. After we watched them for some time scan the shorelines in search of food, we eventually moved on, watching the sun glinting off their backs as we headed home.

Along the way back, we saw some more bald eagles, harbor seals, and massive blooms of jellyfish. It was a lovely day, there were lovely people, there were lovely whales, and we couldn’t have asked for more!