June 20, 2021

Summer Day with Transient Orcas Close to the Harbor!

Jordan Higgins | M/V Sea lion | 06/20/21 |2:00pm

Today was one of my favorite trips of the season! Thank you so much to all my guests for being wonderful human beings with inquisitive minds and great questions.

The day began with sunshine and a wonderful, warm summer’s breeze. We gathered on the boat and were all so excited to begin our adventure. We headed out of Friday Harbor and boated down south. It only took a few minutes before we found orcas! Just past Mitchell Bay, we found a beautiful pod of transient orca whales. It was the T49As! They were led by their mother and matriarch, T49A and followed by her sons and baby daughter. Amongst them was a huge male named T49A1 who was born in 2001. His massive dorsal fin was very impressive and made his baby sister look extra tiny.

They seemed pretty determined to head north through the San Juan Channel, travelling pretty close to shore. But then, they suddenly stopped and circled an area. It looked like they might be hunting! There was some spy hopping and splashing and a couple tail slaps! It was so fun to watch. Then they started to swim straight towards our boat! With this rapid change of direction, we shut down our engines and sat in awe as they approached.

When they disappeared, it became a game of eye spy because we had no idea where they’d pop up. We watched them for a few more minutes but eventually, we continued looking for other wildlife.

We found a few different groups of rock sausages, aka harbor seals. As we arrived at Spieden Island, we found mouflon sheep with big swirly horns, 3 bald eagles perched in the tree tops and Fallow deer grazing along the shorelines.

As we headed back home, the sun was still shining so brightly.

What a great day!