June 25, 2019

T101s Take Down a Harbor Seal in San Juan Channel!

Piper | Tuesday, June 25, 2019 | M/V Kestrel | 11:00 AM

On this sunny Tuesday morning captains Gabe and Pete and I took a great group of folks out on the Kestrel, heading over to the Wasp Islands to try to locate a group of orcas who had been seen by a passing ferry. The group of Bigg’s killer whales were located and I identified them as the T101s, which are a really cool group of a mom, T101, who we think was born in 1973, and her three grown boys, T102, T101A, and T101B! The group of orcas were moving northwest in the direction of Spieden Island and we watched them surface again and again, traveling along, until suddenly they surfaced going the other direction, and quickly! They were on the hunt! Before we knew it there was blood in the water and it took only one minute before the seagulls swooped in to snag the parts of the harbor seal that the orcas were leaving behind. We got to see one of the males cartwheel underwater, throwing his tail in the air and then moonwalk, surfacing backwards, from fin to head; it was so cool!

We watched them swim out across San Juan Channel before we parted ways to go search for some other wildlife. We spotted some adorable harbor seals that weren’t being munched on by killer whales before heading up through Boundary Pass, spotting some harbor porpoises along the way! We also found a balloon and stopped to pick that up before continuing out to the Strait of Georgia where we switched off the engine and floated, looking out for wildlife. We realized we were floating in a massive plankton bloom and spotted a moon jelly floating about! We talked about the geography of the area we were in before we turned around and circumnavigated Stuart Island, going back through John’s Pass to catch up with the T101s for a bit longer, watching them swim along the north side of Stuart Island before heading across the Haro Strait, where we left them and headed home! A bloody awesome (get it??) day on the water!