March 18, 2022

Two Families of Bigg's Killer Whales Play in Rosario Strait

Olivia | March 18th, 2022 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:30pm

Today’s trip was so unexpected for March here in the Salish Sea. We were lucky enough to leave the dock with some reports of Bigg’s Killer Whales in Rosario Strait! With these whales moving south and being a bit further away, we headed inner island and down through Lopez Sound in hopes of seeing something black and white.

Slowly coming on scene, we spotted their black dorsal fins and misty spouts moving northwest of us about a half nautical mile away. We decided to stop and wait as they went on a long dive before progressing any further to be sure we were out of their path and remaining as respectful and responsible as possible. All of a sudden, these mammal eating orcas came up for a breath right at our 2 o’clock, meaning they swam under water in a “Z” path for a half nautical mile in the opposite direction they were initially traveling. This was such a beautiful reminder that these animals are wild and free willed; just as we hope they will always be.

We were fortunate enough to spend time with our engines off watching and listening as the two families [T123’s and T090’s], comprising of 8 individuals, swam, played, and fed off the shores of Blakely Island.  We even caught sight of a few spy hops, tail slaps, and big lunges!

After a while of observing their family dynamics and smiling at their wily calves, we slowly left scene and aimed inner island to make our trek back towards Friday Harbor. Right outside Peavine Pass, we watched Steller’s Sea Lions swim, Harbor Seals snooze, and even a Harbor Porpoise off in the distance. It was a magical day being surrounded by two, snowy mountain ranges standing tall in the clouds and pockets of sun, as marine life of the Salish Sea casually went about their day. If only every day could be this serene.