September 29, 2018

Killer Whales Right Outside of Friday Harbor!

T065A2 Surfacing next to Shaw Island

Piper | 09/29/2018 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00pm

Today began as a blustery September Saturday on San Juan Island. Captains Gabe and Sarah and I hopped aboard the M/V Sea Lion with a great group of adventurers and off into the Salish Sea we went! We didn't have to go very far today, though, because we'd barely finished watching a bald eagle soar off Point Caution before we were watching a group of Bigg's killer whales meander down San Juan Channel! This group of orcas was identified based on their saddle patches and dorsal fins as the T65A's and boy have I missed them! This family of orcas is a group of six whales, the matriarch, T65A, and her five offspring, T65A2, -3, -4, -5, and T65A6, her newest babe, born just last winter. The orcas swam all the way down the west side of Shaw Island to Lopez Island where they turned northeast into Upright Channel. We continued motoring south to scan the waters in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Looping back up to Cattle Point we stopped to watch a colony of Steller's sea lions ambling around on Whale Rocks. Once Steller was in the water and swam directly towards our boat, staring right at us with every breath at the surface, he passed our stern and continued towards the rocks. We left the sea lions and caught back up with the killer whales. When we arrived on scene they were being followed by a group of seagulls, indicating to us that they were sharing a kill amongst themselves, the birds looking to score some scraps! We watched as they continued towards Orcas Island, letting them swim past us before turning around and heading back to Friday Harbor! What a fantastic day on the water!