September 11, 2021

Speedy Killer Whales on a Beautiful Grey Rainy Day

Bigg's Killer Whale

Maxx K. | M/V Kestrel | 09/11/2021 | 2:00pm

 

Today was the day I had been anticipating when I moved up to Washington: chilly, rainy, grey. While it was really only sprinkling throughout our trip we were being thoroughly blasted by water as Kestrel flew through the Salish Sea. This is, after all, the adventure tour!

    We made our first stop at Whale Rocks to check out some Steller Sea Lions. On grey days like today I find they tend to chill out on the rocks, as there isn’t much sun to warm or dry them after a dip in the cold 48 degree water. We watched in amazement as two 2,000lb males battled at the very top of the island, roaring and nipping at each other's faces. After several minutes we moved forward once again, this time left around the southern side of Lopez island and out towards Deception Pass. 

    The T037A’s appeared almost immediately as they moved north hugging Allan and Burrows Islands. One by one they surfaced, with little T037A5 glued to their mothers (T037A, “Volker”) side. I love this family. The T037A’s are one of my most frequently seen matralines and I’m pretty obsessed. 

    Mom, T037A was born in 1994 and has now gone on to have five children: 

T037A1. “Inyo.” 2007. M. 

T037A2. “Inky.” 2009. M. (Absent from our viewing today)

T037A3. “Spinnaker.” 2013. M. 

T037A4. “Crinkle.” 2015. Assumed F.

T037A5. “——.” 2019. Gender unknown. 

    The family was moving quickly northbound, first off our starboard then suddenly appearing immediately off our port. We stopped and waited as they surfaced just ahead of us. Once they moved ahead we positioned ourselves alongside them once again as they rounded the Anacortes ferry terminal. We waved goodbye to them there and turned to make our homeward journey back to Friday Harbor. 

    We hadn’t made it more than 200 yards before we had to stop for a breaching harbor porpoise off our 3 o’clock! Harbor porpoises aren’t known for acrobatic displays so to see a full body breach over our wake was pretty incredible. We were absolutely surrounded by porpoises at one point, there must’ve been 10 animals around us, incredible! 

    It was a cold and rainy journey back to Friday Harbor, yet this still made for one of the most memorable trips of my season here so far.