July 19, 2019

Lucky Looks at Two Families of Bigg's Killer Whales!

Piper | Friday, July 19, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 5:30 PM

Hopping aboard the M/V Sea Lion this evening was Captain Sarah, a couple awesome families, and myself! Just as we were leaving the marina in Friday Harbor, right where we have to decide whether to go north or south, a report came in of Bigg’s killer whales off Patos Island, so, north it was! We turned left to go up San Juan Channel and hung a right at President Channel which runs across the north side of Orcas Island. The waters tonight were so calm and glassy and we were able to spot what must have been hundreds of harbor porpoises along our route. The little fins broke the surface of the water for just a split second, but they stood out against the flat blue of the Salish Sea.

 When we arrived on scene with the mammal-eating orcas they were traveling slowly up the waters south of Point Roberts and in the clear horizon we could spy the orcas’ dorsal fins towering in front of the skyscrapers of Vancouver, British Columbia. 

The families we were seeing tonight were the T65As (without the oldest son, T65A2) and the T77s. Both families tonight were made up of mom and four kiddos with a total of 10 orcas traveling together! T65A6, the youngest orca there at just over a year old stole the show as she normally does, splashing about a bit and just popping her little head up as she swam, trying her best to clear her blowhole of the surface before breathing.

The whales surfaced through the flat waters and with our engines off we were able to hear their breathing, an impressive sound not unlike Darth Vader, and we let them swim right by while we floated, a part of their world for just a moment.

After they passed by we turned around, motoring near the Patos Island lighthouse on our way back to Friday Harbor with a beautiful sunset and as a cherry on top of a wonderful evening, Mount Baker appeared free of the clouds that have been shrouding her peak for quite a while.