September 2, 2019

Humpback Whales and Bigg's Orcas Splashing Around the Sea!

Piper | Monday, September 2, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 1:30 PM

Today was a beautiful, sunny holiday Monday and Captain Pete, Erin, and I had an awesome group of guests aboard the Sea Lion. We had a report of orcas coming south towards San Juan Island from Canadian waters and so we went north to meet up with them!

When we were in San Juan Channel on our way to the orcas, just north of Jones Island, we came across two humpback whales traveling along! These two large baleen whales were only taking dives of five minutes before coming up to the surface for air, and when they went on their long dives, they arched their backs and showed us their beautiful flukes! One of them had a solid black fluke, and the other had a mostly white tail. We use the pigmentation on these tails to identify individuals, and these two animals are known as MMX0128 (Vivaldi) and BCZ0345 (Victory)! One of the times we were waiting for the humpbacks to surface we spotted some harbor porpoises slowly swimming right past our boat! They were so very tiny in comparison to the 45ft whales!

After some awesome views of the humpbacks and porpoises we started north again and met up with the group of Bigg’s killer whales that had been spotted earlier! This was a group of eight animals that consisted of the T60s, a family of mom and five of her kids, including the youngest Bigg’s killer whale known to us! T60 also had two adult females hanging out with her, T59 and T2B! We watched as they swam southwest through Boundary Pass, moving from Canada to the US!

We watched these awesome animals for a while before we had to turn south towards Friday Harbor again, but along the way back we spotted a bald eagle on White Rock and as we slowed down, we noticed a haul-out of harbor seals on Flattop Island! What an awesome day!