Today we had the good fortune of seeing not one, but two different groups of transient killer whales! We pulled off the dock with a few promising reports around the San Juan Islands and decided to stop by the closest one first to see what we could find. We snuck through Pull Pass off of Orcas Island to find the T123’s traveling just up ahead. After observing them for a little bit, we had to make a decision as to where to go next. We decided to head to the west side of San Juan Island to follow some leads out there instead of voyaging farther north to the Canadian Gulf Islands. Just off the west side was a large family of the T36s as well as T51, an adult male without his own matriarch. This is always interesting to see, because orcas are a matriarchal species with very social needs. This male, T51, was possibly lonely, so latched himself onto a matriarchal group to have some strong female support in his life. It’s possible that they’ve been traveling together for a while now, or perhaps T51 was just making a day trip with them before breaking off on his own again. I’m excited to see what decision he makes throughout future sightings!
We then turned back for Friday Harbor, stopping along the way to search for some 4th-of-July bald eagles and some harbor seals as well. We pulled into the harbor with plenty of time to find a good spot to watch the fireworks.
Naturalist Sarah C.
M/V Sea Lion