Please hit “play” on the provided video and let it play as you read in order to fully grasp this blog post
Today we had an EPIC trip on the M/V Sea Lion. When watching our killer whales in the area I am routinely blown away by their grace and power, but rarely do we witness the moments of sheer predatory cunning. Today was one of those days.
We encountered a family of Bigg’s killer whales, who are marine mammal eaters, known as the T123s as they hunted harbor porpoises just north of Sucia Island on Alden Bank. This family consists of a mother (T123) and her two offspring, sixteen-year-old T123A and seven-year-old T123B. We watched as the three whales chased porpoises, and took turns launching their enormous bodies out of the water throwing the tiny porpoises in front of them. Killer whales get a ton of flack for playing with their food, but it is important to remember that animals as intelligent as killer whales learn through play! With T123B, a juvenile, these elongated hunts and play with prey provide important learning opportunities. We were truly watching the circle of life!
After watching the killer whales celebrate their successful hunt we began to head back to Friday Harbor, but only after we stopped to see a mother humpback whale and her newest calf near Saturna Island in British Columbia. We watched as the whales dove and brought their enormous tails to the surface. Any day that we get to encounter two species of whales in the Salish Sea is a special one!
Lead Naturalist Sarah, M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris
Insider Weather Report: Today was a beautiful spring day, but it was still chilly on the water… Even in the sun! Daily, I am still spending the whole trip layered up in a fleece and a windbreaking layer, like a raincoat. Definitely be sure to pack multiple layers!