August 11, 2020

Transient Orca Tour San Juan Island

Transient Orca near San Juan Island

Olivia | M/V Sea Lion | August 11, 2020 | 13:00

It was an exception treat this morning leaving the dock. We had reports of Bigg’s Killer Whales within our area that swam in quickly from Victoria early this morning. They moved up so far and fast, that leaving the dock they were milling near the south western part of San Juan Island. In order to give our passengers, the best possible opportunity to view Transient Orca, we decided to head straight for this family before they moved too far out of range.

Arriving just outside of Hannah Heights, we caught sight of the colossal family known as the T010’s. This comprised of T010, a matriarch born in 1963, and her third born calf, a son known as T010C who was born in 1999. Of our mammal eating ecotype, this family is documented to be one of the largest in length and in weight, along with the T011’s whom they typically travel with.

We watched as they hugged the shoreline scavenging for their next meal, in addition to spy hops, lobtails, full body breaches, and many lunges through the water. Not only did it feel incredible to SEE Orca in our waters, it felt extra exceptional to watch as they communicated, played, hunted, and socialized as a family. These behaviors remind us of how connected we are to another species.

Heading back towards Friday Harbor, we stopped at Whale Rocks to check out a Brown Pelican (not common to find in the Salish Sea), gargantuan Steller’s Sea Lions, wee little Harbor Seals, and lots of Cormorants. On route we to the harbor, we also watched several Harbor Porpoise swim outside of Griffin Bay as a Bald Eagle soared over Lopez Island. I would say this trip was one for the books and a highlight of the summer.