September 19, 2021

Mugged by the T99’s Bigg’s Killer Whales

Haleigh | M/V Kestrel | September 19, 2021 | 2:00 pm


Our adventure tour took place on one of the beautiful, crisps fall days in the San Juan Islands. With calm conditions in the channels, we directed our boat towards a report of killer whales westbound. One our way, we stopped by a haul-out of Steller’s Sea Lions roaring at one another and playing in the kelp forest alongside the rocks. We continued west and saw spouts from afar. As we arrived, Captain Solan slowed our vessel down so we could begin our experience of these animals. 


We were observing a family of Bigg’s Killer Whales. This family of 5 were traveling westbound in a tight form. One of the individuals was a newborn calf, less than a year old. The baby would porpoise through the water to expose its blowhole enough to get some air, showing off the yellow tinge coating its body. After intervals of ~5 minute dive times, the baby burst through the water about 25 yards off of our boat! The rest of the family followed, and we watched them continue off into the sunset. 


After peeling away, we made a turn back to look at a group of humpbacks making their way eastbound. Crazily enough, these humpbacks also decided to pay our boat a close-up visit and then continued on to look closely at some other vessels. It was an incredible day to get some up-close views of these magnificent creatures.