June 16, 2019

Lone Orca and a Pair of Humpbacks Cruising in Canada

Piper | Sunday, June 16, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00 PM

Happy Father’s Day! Today the M/V Sea Lion was crewed by Captain Erick, Erin, and me and we left Friday Harbor with a really awesome group of people who were super engaged and asked some awesome questions about the conservation and ecology of wildlife out in the Salish Sea. We headed north and traveled really far up past Boundary Pass and up Swanson Channel to check out a lone male Bigg’s killer whale, T77A.

T77A, also known as Saulitis, was traveling through Navy Channel between North Pender and Mayne Islands. He was likely echolocating, looking around for some tasty seals, but along the way we got to see him take a little time to play a bit, he rolled around, flashing up his big round pectoral fins and then went back underwater, just to rise above the surface in a spyhop! Saulitis poked his big ol’ head above the water, checking out what was going on at the surface before continuing along travel route!

After a while we parted ways with this awesome orca and motored down Plumper Sound, coming across two humpback whales who were swimming between South Pender and Saturna Islands. These two whales were seen swimming together yesterday as well! We were looking at Divot and Stitch; Divot is a new grandma, as her calf from 2011 has just been spotted with a calf of its own!

We got to watch these massive baleen whales swim along the shore for a few surfacing bouts, watching their tails rise into the air as they took their deep dives. A bit later we had to head back towards Friday Harbor, spotting some harbor seals resting on the small islands which make up White Rock near the top of San Juan Channel. Any day now we expect to see harbor seal pups appearing next to their moms.

We continued back to the marina, even spying a few harbor porpoises as we went! Yet another fantastic day on the water!