June 15, 2018

Transients by D'Arcy Island!

Bigg's whales swimming

Jordan | June 13, 2018 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:00 noon

What a great day within the Salish Sea! The 12:00 noon tour had such a wonderful group of people who asked so many thoughtful questions! Before we even left the dock, our guests showed us they were eager to learn. Captain Pete, Mariana and I set off from Friday Harbor with high hopes of finding some orca whales and excited to teach everyone about our wildlife.

We ventured north and cut through the channel beneath Speiden Island before heading south towards D’Arcy Island where we found Bigg’s killer whales! The T49As and T49Bs were traveling south together, fighting against a strong current towards a mysterious end goal. Our guests went wild when one of the orcas breached backwards, exposing her whole belly to the boat and waving to us as she made a huge splash! Then, soon afterwards, one of the younger whales decided to follow her example and stuck his whole tail out of the water and waved it all about!

Suddenly, a pod of porpoises surfaced right next to the boat! They were sprinting in the opposite direction of the transient orca whales! Since transients feed on marine mammals, including porpoises, the porpoises were definitely wise to stay away. Luckily for them, the killer whales continued on their southern trajectory and ignored the small cetaceans.

Eventually, it was time to go home so we turned around and headed towards Speiden. While passing by we caught sight of an elegant bald eagle perching on top of a pine tree! His bright white head gleamed in the sunlight. In addition, a small group of seals flopped upon a nearby rock clump. Their dark gray speckled bodies camouflaged perfectly amongst the wet stone.

There’s so much wildlife within the San Juan islands and we’re so lucky to be able to share it with people from all over the world.

Naturalist Jordan