December 7, 2018

Southern Resident Killer Whales Visit the San Juans in December

Seattle Orca Whale Watching near San Juan Island

While our 2018 whale watching season is officially in the books, the work doesn’t stop! We have just a few short months to prepare for the 2019 whale watch and sea kayak tour season which begins on Valentine’s Day. Yes! You can already make your 2019 whale watch & wildlife tour reservations as well as guided say and multiday guided sea kayak tour reservations.

So, where do the whales go in the winter!? We get this question a ton, especially this time of year. Bigg’s mammal-hunting killer whales live in these waters all months of the year. The Bigg’s killer whales (also known as transient killer whales) have a robust food source of harbor seals, sea lions, and porpoise. Their population is growing at a rate of 5% per year with an estimated 300-500 members in the population. Incredible!

Although we historically have fewer sightings of the Southern Resident Killer Whales in November-April, in the last few days we’ve had several reports of members of J, K, and L-pods in the waters surrounding San Juan Island!

Saturday December 1st: Members of L-pod, including the seldom seen L54s, sighted in the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Sooke.

Monday December 3rd: Members of K-pod sighted near Iceberg Point on the southern tip of Lopez Island

Monday December 3rd: Members of K-pod and L-pod totally about 20 whales sighted in Rosario Strait east of the San Juans in Thatcher Pass near Lopez Island.

Wednesday December 5th: Southern Residents sighted near Lopez Island.