July 7, 2021

Insane Sunset and Breaching Bigg’s Killer Whales

Bigg’s Killer Whale

Maxx K. | M/V Osprey | 07/07/2021 | 5:30pm

    Today’s sunset tour started like they often do: Osprey left Friday harbor in search of whales, following up on rumors of whales nearby. I was not prepared however for just how spectacular the trip would end up being. 

Rumors of killer whales led us north, through the San Juan Channel and into the Wasp Islands that separate the west coasts of Shaw and Orcas. Osprey then turned left into West Sound and towards the family of Bigg’s Killer Whales, the T037A’s. 

This family of whales is made up of mom, T037A (“Volker”), and her five children, the youngest T037A5, being only maybe two years old. 

When we arrived on scene, their behaviors indicated to me that these whales were feeding. The family rolled over one another and remained somewhat stationary on the eastern side of West Sound. I can only imagine that just below the surface of the water they were all sharing a seal snack, passing it around so everyone got a piece. 

Soon after feeding the playtime began. These whales began breaching over and over and over. This was absolutely more breaching than I had ever seen before. It was almost as if these siblings were competing with one another, trying to see who could make the biggest splash. 

They somersaulted and tail slapped and leaped from the water for almost 40 minutes, but why? Were they actually having a bit of a competition? Was this some unknown form of communication? Were they scratching an itch? Maybe I’m just overthinking it and they’re  really just having a bit of fun! Regardless, we were all positively thrilled on Osprey! 

With the sun setting behind us we slowly moved away from the jovial family and back towards Friday Harbor. What an insane trip!