September 4, 2019

Transient Orcas Take Over Boundary Pass

Killer Whales in Boundary Pass

Olivia | September 4th, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 1:30pm

What an incredible day aboard M/V Sea Lion! Captain Sarah, Co-Naturalist Jordan and I headed north through the San Juan Channel in hopes to see some whale reports that were rumored from the morning. Initially we were going to head around the tip of San Juan Island and into Haro Strait, when we last minute heard of some Bigg’s Killer Whales that were closer and coming our way.

All along our trip, both heading north and later on in our 3-4 hour adventure, we saw heaps of Harbor Porpoises everywhere traveling together and showing off those chocolate chip dorsal fins. Passing Spieden Island, cutting through Boundary Pass, and just sound of South Pender and Blunden Island were our transient Orcas, the T37A’s! This comprised of 5 individuals and it was beautiful to see them milling around, socializing, and hugging the shoreline in search of food.

After spending ample time being mesmerized by these ocean giants, we decided to head east towards Java Islands and check out Harbor Seals and Bald Eagles.  There was one large Eagle perched up above all our favorite rock sausages scanning the horizon for food or something to scavenge. Just as we were about to leave, the eagle took flight and soared with its white tail feathers gleaming in the sunlight.

We started to head south and make our way back to Friday Harbor when suddenly we received a report of some more Bigg’s Killer Whales about 2 miles from us! This happened to be the T36’s (about 4 individuals) working their way south in search of food and possibly to socialize with the other transient Orcas in the area. This was such a fun little treat, and it goes to show you never know what can happen out there. Every day is a pleasant surprise within the Salish Sea!