September 29, 2016

Transient Orcas in the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Today we had the rare opportunity to view four different family groups of transient killer whales. When we pulled away from the dock, reports of killer whales in the Strait of Juan de Fuca brought us south of San Juan Island. On our way down, we encountered all sorts of wildlife, including Steller sea lions, harbor seals, cormorants, harbor porpoises, and even a minke whale!

When we arrived at where the orcas were last reported, we noticed that the group consisted of nine different whales. After observing them for a few minutes we determined that we were looking at 3 separate family groups traveling together - the T10's, T36A's, and T37A's. This large group included two huge males (T10B and C), two calves (T36A2 and T37A2), and 5 adult females. 

After observing this group of transients for a while, we picked up a report of yet another family group of transients just north of us, the T38's. We grabbed a quick look at this group of 5  before turning back to San Juan Island and returning to Friday Harbor.