Transient Killer Whale Feeding Frenzy Near Cattle Point, San Juan Island

Lauren Fritz, M/V Sea Lion, 07/24/17, 5:30 pm Tour

Our sunset tour tonight on M/V Sea Lion was incredible. Seriously, incredible. We had some amazing views of a few pods of Transient orcas (T46’s, T34’s, T37B’s) as they traveled through Cattle Pass and made a few kills. There food of choice? The plump little harbor seals that call this place home! It was fascinating to watch their feeding behavior.

Killer whales share their prey once they’ve made the kill, and it was almost like watching a whale ballet as they all joined in, surfacing in different directions as they swam by to take their bites of the shared meal. This particular group has two calves in it as well, and how cute to see these little critters hanging out right next to their mom. Although these babies were probably too young to partake in the adult meal, observation and learned behavior is incredibly important to their development and future survival, so they were certainly benefiting from the meal as well, but in their own way.

We also had the amazing opportunity to turn off our engines and simply float and watch…as the whales fed mere yards away from the bow of our boat! Naturalist Rachel and I hadn’t seen anything like it before! It was one of the top ten whale watches I’ve ever experienced, by far. We were able to see every little detail on their dorsal fins and saddle patches. We even saw T34 swim by with her little calf and nudge it along.

Many of our guests agreed – this was a whale watch to remember! Besides the incredible whale activity that we were able to witness, we had time to swing by Whale Rocks and Long Island to check out both juvenile and adult bald eagles, along with their massive nest, and see some Steller’s Sea Lions and harbor seals hauled out and sunning themselves.

A perfect day – thanks again to those of you onboard. It was a pleasure sharing this experience with you! Come back and visit us soon.

Naturalist Lauren Fritz, San Juan Safaris


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