September 16, 2022

Orca Whales in Boundary Pass

Elle | M/V Sea Lion | 9/16/2022 | 1:30PM

Today, Bigg's killer whales swam right past Friday Harbor as they hunted harbor seals. Three big males put on a show for the Washington State Ferry, Chelan. Some of the lucky passengers on that ferry joined us on our vessel, Sea Lion and got a second look at a different family of orcas later in the afternoon. By the time we left Friday Harbor, those big males had headed south into rough, windy seas. We headed north and caught up to a group of six whales near Saturna Island in Boundary Pass, right on the USA/Canadian border. These whales were also Bigg's, from the T34 and T37 families. We watched them travel and hunt, speeding up and porpoising to catch a smaller marine mammal under the surface. It was so fun to watch all of their different behaviors.


As we headed back towards San Juan Island, we passed through the Cactus Islands and got to see tons of harbor seals hauled out on the rocky shores, as well as huge mats of bull kelp, which offers a safe hiding spot for small fish and, crusteceans, and seals. Totop it off, we got a great look at some majestic bald eagles, one of two Pacific Northwest animal populations to be successfully removed from the endangered species list.