[6/16/17- M/V Sea Lion- 1:30PM] Transient killer whales continue to be the stars of the Salish Sea around the San Juan Islands! The day started calm and quiet, a much needed break from yesterday’s stormy seas. M/V Sea Lion departed from Friday Harbor in business-like fashion, heading directly towards the killer whales outside of Active Pass- over an hour away from the harbor, but still within reach! We bobbed and weaved amongst islands (if anyone is interested in some prime realty, there is some property now for sale on a private island!), and we spotted some bald eagles soaring overhead catching some air currents and allowing themselves to be propelled into the sky.
We broke through the pass into the Straight of Georgia, more open waters looking out towards Vancouver. Welcome to Canada! And just as the channels opened up, sure enough, whales! The mammal-hunting orcas, transient killer whales, were swimming along *seemingly* calmly as we approached the scene, but soon, a breach! The whales began tail-slapping the water, breaching, and circling each other in joy. We realized that we had approached them as they had just finished a kill! With full, happy bellies they flopped around and celebrated, a rare and thrilling behavior to be seeing amongst these whales on our trips. Later identified as the T137’s, we could see mom and her three children (the oldest an adult male, the youngest a female, and the middle is gender unknown) travelling in their usual family pod. It was fun to see this little family and experience them thriving and loving life!
The day finished with a beautiful return home and some sunlight to greet us. Another beautiful San Juan Safaris trip is in the books!
Kelsey, Naturalist, Seattle Orca Whale Watching