May 13, 2015
Transients and Humpbacks Across the Border
Leaving Friday Harbor with reports of both Transient Killer Whales and Humpback Whales is always a great way to start a trip. Captain Brian took us North on the Sea Lion and we sped through Speiden Channel aimed for Moresby Island and the rest of the Gulf Islands of Canada. Many people don't realize that we in fact cruise into Canadian waters on a regular basis. Animals don't know our borders.
Starting a trip with Humpbacks is never a bad way to go and we had two to watch out in the Haro Strait. Sometimes it's difficult to get good looks at Humpbacks in this region because they are intent on feeding and make deep dives to forage, surfacing far from where they were last seen. These two were no different, but nonetheless we had good views of the two, side by side. Seeing two Humpbacks together here isn't totally uncommon, but we often see lone animals, and all are typically destined for the rich cold waters of the far North Pacific where they sometimes hunt the fish and krill they eat cooperatively.
The animals we almost always see hunting cooperatively are Killer Whales, and in particular the small groups of Transients that cruise through our waters stay close together when hunting for the marine mammals they specialize in. We caught up with the T124 group, with four younger animals led by mother matriarch T124 just off Beaver Point on Saltspring Island. This was a good jaunt of the afternoon and after we watched them make at least one kill, they started traveling further North into the Northern Gulf Islands. It was time to turn around but we left with the excitement of seeing not only Killer Whales but Humpbacks as well!
M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris