Orcas Skirt the Canadian Border

[8/14/17 Sea Lion 1:30pm Naturalist Sarah C.]

How beautiful are the San Juans lately? With the last of the lingering BC smoke washed away by the rain, we’re back to sunny, blue skies and distant mountainous vistas to complement our daily whale watches on Sea Lion. Our afternoon trip set out of Friday Harbor not only with beautiful, sunny San Juan weather, but also with positive orca reports within our range for a three hour tour!

We headed north out of Friday Harbor, up San Juan Channel, and into Boundary Pass. Off of our right, the beautiful Patos Lighthouse, the American-side lighthouse of Boundary Pass.

Off of our left, ORCAS! We encountered the T49’s (a family group of five orcas, including two teenage males with pretty awesome dorsal nicks) as they had just changed direction to move northwest from Patos Island. We watched them as they traveled together as a family, tightly packed together and surfacing one after another in a chorus of exhalations above the surface of the water. They were moving at a pretty clippy pace of 5 nots when we left them moving up the shoreline of the Canadian Gulf Islands, riding the Canadian border north.

It was a beautiful and breathtaking encounter with wild transient killer whales, and we returned to Friday Harbor feeling incredibly grateful to bear witness to this family of whales doing their wild whale thang!

Naturalist Sarah C.

M/V Sea Lion

San Juan Safaris


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