July 25, 2019

Unique Killer Whale Kids Traveling near the San Juan Islands

Two Bigg's Killer Whales in the Salish Sea

Olivia | July 25th, 2019 | M/V Kestrel | 11:00am

Commonly on these morning trips, we leave the dock unaware of what wildlife is out there, and it is our job to help scope it out with other Whale Watch Vessels in the area. Not only is this beneficial to our tours, but it also allows for a heads up to recreational boats, ferries, the list goes on! This is one of the many things that make our trips exciting and a daily surprise. That being said, we lucked out as we started boating around the islands, with a report of some Bigg’s Killer Whales on the north side of Patos Island.

We headed northeast with pristine views of Mount Baker, one of our volcanoes, standing proud on the horizon guiding us along the way. Oddly, we found two young Orcas traveling together – T77B and T77C, about 10 and 13 years old. This is unique because young Bigg’s Killer Whales travel in their matriarch with their mothers and other siblings until they are of age to have multiple young calves to form their own matriarch. For male Killer Whales, they stay with their mothers their entire life.

Our last report of the rest of the family was from the previous evening about 50 miles from where these two were traveling. Brian then used this opportunity to tell us about the “Kids” who often are seen traveling together randomly and stumping us as to why. I choose to believe, like us, they are rebellious teens who need an adventure of their own.

Heaps of Harbor Porpoises were seen the entire way to and from this area, making it a fun game of Eye Spy for our guests as their chocolate chip dorsal fins scraped the water’s surface. We made a pit stop at Skipjack on our way back to Friday Harbor to view Harbor Seals snoozing around and sitting in their banana pose. We also stopped at Flattop where we saw three Bald Eagles and a Turkey Vulture feeding on the shoreline. Come spot wildlife on our adventure tours and witness unique wildlife experiences in the Salish Sea!