May 29, 2022

A Sunset Search for Bigg’s Killer Whales

Lauren | M/V Sea Lion | 5.29.2022 | 5:30 PM

It is finally sunset season here at San Juan Safaris and I couldn’t be more excited! Sunset trips are my absolute favorite... Nothing beats watching whales with a setting sky as your backdrop. Memorial Day weekend went out with a bang with a visit from a frequent Bigg’s Killer Whale family, the T075B’s!

As we left Friday Harbor on M/V Sea Lion, we weren’t sure what our 5:30 pm trip was going to bring. The whale reports from earlier in the day weren’t looking promising. It seemed the whales were headed north, trending out of our reach. With no other firm reports in the area, we decided to go for it. The race against the clock was on! Could we make it there in time?

While scanning, we saw some bald eagles soaring above San Juan Channel, and as we entered Boundary Pass, we cruised by a shoal of harbor porpoise. Shortly after entering Boundary, Captain Gabe notified Laura and I that whales had been picked up just west of North Pender Island. After a sigh of relief, we notified our guests that killer whales were in the area. We proceeded to spend the evening with a group of 4 Bigg’s Killer Whales. Lead naturalists Laura was able to identify these whales as the T075B’s. This group consists of mom “Pebbles” and her three offspring: Jasper, Rubble and a currently unnamed calf born in 2021. We came a long way, so we couldn’t stay long. As we pulled off, we said goodnight to the whales and watched as their dorsal fins faded into the setting sun. What a successful Sunday it was!