[Naturalist Erick D., M/V Seahawk, 7/31/17, 2:00PM]
Yesterday, Captain Joe and I took out a full group of guests from Roche Harbor aboard the M/V Seahawk. Again we were on the lookout for any adorable or exciting wildlife out there in the waters of the Salish Sea. We journeyed through the inner islands going in between the tight passages of the Wasp Islands and then between Orcas, Shaw and Lopez Islands. Eventually we made it into Rosario Strait on the eastern side of the archipelago. We spied a few Bald Eagles perched and one flew over us, as we passed the swirling eddies in between James and Decatur Islands.
We soon found ourselves looking at a mass of birds flying and fishing around some barren rocks in the middle of Rosario Strait. Then we saw some blows! It was a group of Orcas! More specifically, it was a group of Transient (Bigg’s) Orcas swimming south in the Strait. It looked to be either two or three separate families of orcas traveling together. All orcas usually live in tight family groups, led by a matriarch (the oldest female) and consisting of her progeny. This group was the T37s and the T34s. It was amazing to see them travel together. These two families often travel together and hunt together but it seemed like here they were at least thinking about parting ways for a little bit. Their paths kept getting wider and wider, but for all we know they could have been just planning something. Since sound travels 4 times better through water than through air orcas can sometimes communicate with each other ten miles away. Pretty crazy, right? We loved watching these groups for awhile, especially the couple of young ones, but we headed back to Roche Harbor after another full and fun day of whale watching.