October 3, 2016

Resident Orcas Hit the west side before Sunrise

Southern Resident Orca

Yesterday, the sun was out again and the seas were calm. Early in the morning the Southern Resident Killer Whales could be heard over one of the hydrophones placed on the west side of the island, and by the time the sun came up there was a whole lot of orcas spread out along the southern shore of San Juan Island. Captain Mike, Scott, and I took a bunch of great folks on an adventure to find these orcas and of course some other amazing wildlife as whale. First we stopped to look at a large number of Steller’s Sea Lions, the largest Sea Lions in the world, in Cattle Pass. There was so many of them, some sleeping, some scratching, some fighting, some swimming, and a lot growling at each other. Next we went south and eventually started to see the blows of a few orcas ahead. As we got closer we figured out that they were member of K pod, a mother and a son, Sekiu (K22) and Tika (K33). Immediately you can tell the size difference and fin shape difference between the males and females in this mother son pair, and Tika is not even full grown. He’ almost 15 and he’ll be full grown around when he’s 20 years old. Next we saw more of K pod, Spock (K20) and her son Comet (K38) travelling. Then we saw a bunch of splashing behind us. It was Onyx (L87) who is a very large male catching a salmon! You could see the huge salmon still held in his mouth as he jumped and swam in circles! Next we continued you on and got our final sightings with the J17’s which is one of the large matrilines in J pod lead by Princess Angeline (J17). And if all that wasn’t good enough we stopped on the way back to see and hear a Bald Eagle soaring low above the water and a bunch of young Harbor Seals swimming and playing in an eddy!


Naturalist Erick

M/V Sea Lion

San Juan Safaris

Steller's Sea Lions