July 7, 2019

Surprise Orcas near Orcas Island!

Piper | Sunday, July 7, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 1:30 PM

Today was a drizzly Pacific Northwest summer day and leaving the docks we had a day full of possibilities ahead of us! We started moving northwest and were heading over the top of Stuart Island when a report of Bigg’s killer whales came over the radio! They were just a few miles away so we turned the Sea Lion in their direction and about fifteen minutes later we arrived on scene with a family of marine mammal-eating orcas! This group was immediately recognizable as the T65As, a group of whales we’ve been seeing quite often in the Salish Sea! T65A2, the oldest son of the matriarch of this family just returned to his mom after a quick jaunt to hang out with his aunt and cousin, the T65Bs! It was great to see him swimming around with his mom and little siblings again. We watched as these orcas moved over the top of Orcas Island (not named for the whales!), and down through President Channel before we peeled away and went to see what other wildlife we could find!

We motored past Flattop Island and stopped to view a large number of bald eagles perched along the rocks and trees; we arrived on the north side of the island and found two adult bald eagles and a juvenile. One of the adults was bent over chowing down on some food and we heard a report on the radio that the food was actually a harbor seal pup that was snatched from the water! There was a colony of harbor seals just next to these eagles and if that wasn’t National Geographic worthy, I don’t know what is!

We soon headed back towards Friday Harbor, spotting a few harbor porpoises in the water on our way there! What a wonderfully whale-y, wet day on the water!