September 14, 2022

Oodles of Orcas (and a humpback!)

Elle | M/V Osprey | 9/14/2022 | 1:30PM

Today was a lucky day out here in the Salish Sea! Soon after departing from Friday Harbor, we stopped to see a majestic bald eagle perched above a group of harbor seals, hauled out on a rocky island. As we continued north through President's Channel towards Sucia Island, we encountered a humpback whale! We were able to identify him by his fluke as BCX1233 "Raccoon." We love seeing eagles and humpbacks out here because they both represent huge success stories in the Salish Sea. Both of these were at one point listed on the IUCN Endangered Species List because of DDT and whaling practices, resprectively. Luckily, both populations have made a big comeback after the banning of harmful substances and practices and were removed from the Endangered Species List. 

As we continued northeast, around Orcas Island, we encountered a group of thirteen orcas. While critically endangered Southern Resident orcas travel in pods of 20-40 whales, this mammal-eating ecotype, the Bigg's killer whale, usually travels in groups of 4-6. This fact makes a huge "T-party" like this a rare sighting! Included in this group were four different families: the T34s, the T37s, the T100s, and the T101s. A double-whale day and a "T-party" made today's trip really special!