August 14, 2016

Skull Crushers, Transient Orcas (T065As) eat lots of Harbor Seals in San Juan Channel

Transient Orca in Griffin Bay near San Juan Channel

Yesterday was probably one of the hottest of the summer here in the San Juan Islands. It got to around 80˚F on land, but once we were on the water it cooled down to a nice pleasant temperature. Today was one of those rare days as well that we did not really go that far. Friday Harbor is on the east side of San Juan Island and usually we make a few stops to see wildlife and eventually make our way to one of the larger straits to see the whales but today we went about a minute outside of the harbor and boom Transient Orcas! It was one of our favorite matrilines, aka families, too! The T065A’s is a Transient Orca family that knows the area well and knows where all the hot spot for their food is, and since Transient Orcas hunt marine mammals they usually bump from spot to spot where they can find Harbor Seals when they are in the islands! This family today was nailing Harbor Seals left and right as they passed by Brown Island, then Turn Island, and into Griffin Bay. This family is led by their matriarch, T065A, and she has four children T065A2, T065A3, T065A4, and you guessed it T065A5! A5 is the newest member and is around 2 years old and her oldest T065A2 is a sprouting male at I believe 14 years old, but no matter how big he gets mom will always be in charge, and that’s true for all orcas! We watched them take down a few more seals and also the youngest one, T065A5, get lost and then found again in some kelp, and then we headed off to see a bunch of Harbor Seals and Steller’s Sea Lions lounging on the rocks as well as check out a few Harbor Porpoise in Cattle Pass. All of these are on the menu for the Transient Orcas, and its good to know that they have plenty of food here. We soon headed back after another super day of wildlife watching!! Erick out.

 

Naturalist Erick

M/V Sea Lion

San Juan Safaris