June 30, 2019

Orcas up North!

Jordan | M/V Sea Lion | 06/30/19 | 1:30pm

Today was super great! Captain Erick, Naturalist Piper and I took the Sea Lion out of Friday Harbor and headed north to reports of orca whales coming from Canadian waters. We boated up through the San Juan Channel, passed by Orcas Island and Waldron Island and across Boundary Pass into Canada. Here, we went around East Point off of Saturna Island and headed west where we found orca whales!

We watched them swim into this beautiful area off of Mayne Island called Georgeson’s Passage. We identified the whales as Bigg’s killer whales. These marine mammal eating orcas swam pretty close to the shoreline potentially looking for seals to prey upon.

We identified the specific family as the T65Bs joined by T65A2. This group had a huge male with a 6 foot tall dorsal fin but also a tiny little baby who is only a few months old! We watched these whales as they swam and then turned around then turned around again. Changing direction randomly is one of their strategies for being stealthy as they hunt.

Eventually we headed back towards the harbor. On the way out of the passage, we spotted a harbor seal swimming in the water! Some people also spotted a beautiful bald eagle up in the trees, surveying the scene. Then, a lot of people shouted “porpoise!” as we passed harbor porpoises across Boundary Pass.

Coming back into harbor, everyone was really content with seeing such beautiful wildlife and learning so many fun facts!