August 20, 2016

Southern Resident Killer Whales Return to the San Juan Islands

K26 "Lobo" breaches

Some days are just simply spectacular. Today combined flat water, good company, and amazing killer whale sightings for magic on the M/V Sea Lion.

Naturalist Erick, Captain Mike and I set out on our 1:30 pm tour with reports of some of our Southern Resident Killer Whales on the west side of San Juan Island in Haro Strait. We work together with a spotting network, known as the Pacific Whale Watch Association, which is comprised of other whale watch companies spread out all over the Salish Sea from Seattle to Vancouver. Together we work to cover as much open water as possible so that we all might see the coolest wildlife!

Today we were lucky enough to see our fish-eating type of killer whales and they were active, active, active! We enjoyed watching their antics as they socialized and fished for salmon in the mirror-like water of Haro Strait. We got some excellent looks at the K14 matriline led by K14 “Lea” (born 1977) and her three kiddos, as well as at two J-pod families, the J22s led by J22 “Oreo” (born 1985) and the J17 matriline led by J17 “Princess Angeline” (born 1977). These tight-knit family groups will stay together for life, and are the foundation for the Southern Resident society. 

Mother killer whale and her baby
J28 "Polaris" and her new calf J54 born in December 2015 Sarah McCullagh