July 23, 2019

A T Party of Bigg's Killer Whales.. and a Pirate Ship?

Sunset with Bigg's Killer Whales

Olivia | July 23rd, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 5:30pm

Starting off our evening sunset trip, Captain Erick and I headed north with our passengers through the San Juan Channel passing between Spring Passage and up to Presidents Channel on the east side of Waldron Island. This island area is a hot spot for Harbor Porpoise which did not disappoint as we saw heaps swimming about the entire way. So much so, that we continued seeing them everywhere in high volumes up until we stumbled across a T party of Bigg’s Killer Whales!

These family groups were spread out around Sucia and Patos Islands milling, socializing, and traveling about. With their recent dispersal and intermingling, it made it difficult to keep track of the individuals and how many family groups were actually in the area. We identify these Orcas all on visuals and photographs that we compare to our Transient Killer Whale catalog. Between us and the other whale watching vessels in the area, all a part of the Pacific Whale Watch Association, we theorized we had the T65A’s, T65B’s, and T77’s, totaling up to around 13 whales. However, with longer dive times and the whales starting to travel non-directionally, there was debate on if the T124A’s were also there!

This is what makes our job fun and exciting, we even saw Harbor Seals hopped up on rocks peaking above the water to keep as much distance between them and the Killer Whales as possible. What’s an exciting addition to these whales? A Pirate Ship entering our waters! Okay, not a real one, but it was Lady Washington who played the HMS Interceptor in Pirates of the Caribbean. Thanks Captain Erick for that fun fact!

We headed back in the direction we came, viewing Bald Eagles fly overhead, as our whales continued further away from us in search of new areas. How many blogs can I reiterate this? We LOVE our sunset tours! Come and join us during the Golden Hour to experience the magic of our Salish Sea.