June 23, 2017

Time for Transients!

Transient killer whales continue to be the stars of the Salish Sea

[6/23/17- M/V Sea Lion- 1:30PM]  The sun has returned to the San Juan Islands! Not a cloud in the sky was spotted as M/V Sea Lion departed Friday Harbor. The start of summer has been in full swing, and this was a beautiful taste of what is to come for the upcoming months.

We bobbed and weaved amongst the islands and tides, spotting harbor seals and various sea birds. After some time, we spotted quite a large pod of harbor porpoise spread out amongst the tides. Typically boat shy, these whales do not generally enjoy being watched, and they usually swim away from vessels. However, this pod was busy actively hunting, and we were able to slow our boat and even stop to watch them quickly “porpoise” across the waterline and even jump from the water! They were even close enough that we could hear their small and quick little exhales! From the boat, we could also see some jellyfish and tons of plankton floating and swimming in the water. A short stop, but it was quite a cool one!

We continued along, and we soon approached a group of transient killer whales! The family group was the T65A’s, a mother matriarch with 2 sons and 2 younger offspring who have not been identified yet in terms of gender. They were moving along quickly, throwing in some tail splashes and twirls as they moved along. Their increase in activity most likely indicated they had just finished a kill, seeing transients are typically quiet travelers as to not disturb their targeted prey (harbor seals, harbor porpoise, sea lions, minke whales, and more!). We enjoyed the spring in their steps and soon parted ways, leaving our friends of the sea behind to further enjoy the rest of their sunny day, just as we were going to enjoy the rest of ours with more sea birds, a harbor seal, and a bald eagle along the way.

Another stunning and fun day out in the Salish Sea- we couldn’t have asked for much more!