I have a lot of good days on the boat. Any day spent watching wildlife is a great one, but some days you get to be filled with awesome wonder! This trip was already a unique and special one since it was a family that chartered the boat to say goodbye to one of their loved ones that had passed. They first wanted to watch orcas so Captain Gabe and I travelled to a group that was hanging around Battleship Island. It was a super group of Transient Orcas! Transient Orcas are the ecotype that comes here throughout the year to eat mainly Harbor Seals. They usually only travel in small familial groups that included a matriarch, her progeny and sometimes sisters. But this group was several different families that met up together! When this happens, just like when humans gather together, there is a lot of celebration that commences! There was breaching, cartwheeling, and splashing! I haven’t got to see this interaction between Transients Orcas before, and it was so amazing to see how close and how much these orca families loved interacting and greeting each other.

We eventually moved away from this group to let the family say goodbye to their loved one on the north side of Stuart Island with the lighthouse and Mt. Baker in full view. It was a beautiful send-off and I wish the family the best as they move forward. That’s it for this sunny day in the San Juans. Until next time.



Naturalist Erick

M/V Kittiwake

San Juan SafarisTransient Male Orca