June 9, 2021

Sunset Cruise with 8 Bigg's Killer Whales

Transient Killer Whales near Spieden Island

Haleigh | M/V Osprey | June 9, 2021 | 5:30pm


Our Wednesday night sunset tour began with us racing north up San Juan Channel to catch the reported 8 Bigg’s Killer Whales before they crossed the US-Canadian Border. We witnessed this same group hours earlier at the Southern end of San Juan Island, and knew their travel pattern was taking them up along the West side of the island heading North. In the group, we saw T65A Mother (Female, 1986) with her calves T65A2 (Male, 2004), T65A3 (Unknown, 2007), T65A4 (Female, 2011), and T65A6 (Female, 2018). Tagging along with this family group were brothers T125A Jetsam (Male, 1998) and T128 Flotsam (Male, 1988)


As we arrived on the Northwest side of Spieden Island, we spotted other whale watching vessels observing the Bigg’s Killer Whales. We slowed to enter the scene and watched as the orcas were traveling slowly paralleling the coast. With our engine shut off, we could hear each exhale puffing out at 250 miles per hour and the misty sea spray that spewed as a result. We drifted along with them admiring their size -- the grown males enormous compared to the youngest in the group, only three years old. Their behavior was steady, continuing forth with occasional disappearances from the surface for three to four minutes. They crossed over the Canadian border as the sun set, leaving us with a picturesque view of Turn Point Lighthouse, that perfect sunset glow, and their shimmery black dorsal fins. They continued their movement North as we turned around towards Friday Harbor, allowing time for this wonderful encounter to sink in.