September 3, 2019

Socializing Bigg's Orcas in Fulford Harbour!

Piper | Tuesday, September 3, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 1:30 PM

Captain Pete and naturalists Olivia and I were aboard the M/V Sea Lion today with a fabulous group of folks which were ready to head out and see some Salish Sea wildlife! We left the marina and headed northwest towards Moresby Island in the Canadian Southern Gulf Islands. Along our route we spotted some harbor porpoises surfacing off Spieden Island, with their tiiiiiiiny dorsal fins popping up here and there. We also had some great looks at seabirds, primarily common murres! When we arrived on the north side of Moresby, we found that the orcas had moved across the channel and into the mouth of Fulford Harbour on Salt Spring Island.

As we were slowly arriving on scene, we saw one of the orcas breach multiple times before booking it around the corner of the harbor with another, smaller orca. It almost looked like it was a race to the point and back, where they met up with the rest of the family!

These orcas were the T60s, made up of mom, who’s about 40, and her five kids (including a newborn!!). They were joined by two adult females, T59 and T2B, both around the same age as T60. We watched as this group of whales socialized in the harbor, spy hopping and tail slapping, swimming upside down—they were having a blast!

After a while we had to head back in order to make it to Friday Harbor in time, but it was such an awesome sighting! On our way back we spotted loads of harbor seals along the shore of Spieden Island, and up on the hillside, the grasses and trees were dotted with mouflon sheep and fallow deer! We arrived in the marina shortly after with some amazing memories of the Bigg’s killer whales and wildlife.