July 11, 2017

Transient Orcas Visit San Juan Channel Near Friday Harbor

Transient orcas swim alongside Orcas Island

[7/11/17- M/V Sea Lion- 1:30PM]

Ohhhh what a day to be out on a whale watch! The reports were already great as we left Friday Harbor, but we almost didn’t even need them- whales were seen passing by Friday Harbor just as our trip was ready to depart!

After only about 15 or 20 minutes, we were on the scene with a group of transient killer whales. They were quickly dodging about and deciding which ways to travel. They were separated into 3 or 4 small groups with about 10 whales total, all breaking into small groups yet still breathing at the same time. The T99 family pod was present, as well as the T37’s. They approached the shoreline of Orcas Island and headed north, and we followed along with them all the way past Waldron Island. Some juveniles were in a small group, and they tossed and turned in front of us, showing us their bellies and flukes. We even saw a tiny spyhop and pec slap! We were lucky that the whales were so close, because we got to spend about an hour watching these beautiful creatures and still have time to look for other wildlife.

We soon took off and meandered home, but not without stopping to see about 5 bald eagles at Flattop Island, Sika deer roaming Speiden Island, and baby, wiggling harbor seals with their mothers on the shorelines. We are just getting into harbor seal pupping season, and the pups are less than two feet long and adorable!

It was a stunning and special day out in the Salish Sea. Lots to be seen and lots to fall in love with!