Transient Killer Whales in the San Juan Islands; PC: Frederick Dowell
Bigg's Killer Whales in the Salish Sea; PC: Frederick Dowell
T18 and T19's near Orcas Island; PC: Frederick Dowell
Mouflon Sheep on Spieden Island; PC: Frederick Dowell

Olivia | August 7th, 2019 | M/V Sea Hawk | 2:00pm

What a fun trip we had today out of Roche Harbor! While leaving the northern side of San Juan Island, we immediately saw a Harbor Seal swimming around by the docks. With a nearly full boat, Captain Erick and I started heading east through Spieden Channel and south down the San Juan Channel in search of some Bigg’s Killer Whales that were reported earlier by the Lopez Ferry Dock. As we were heading to the southern side of Shaw Island, we heard an update from another Captain on our M/V Kestrel that they redirected and were heading more our way, allowing us time to check out a large bait ball and travel through the Wasp Islands in between Orcas and Shaw Islands.

As we came on scene, it was such a nice surprise to see a family group that doesn’t come around too often. Seeing the family groups of T18 and T19’s (about four Orcas) was also a first time for me! This comprised of two females, one born in 1974 and one born in 1969, along with two males born in 1995 and 2001. Despite the large size of these males, they were not fully at sexual maturity yet, mind boggling our guests. T19B even had a dorsal fin that leaned to the left, making this a very distinguishing characteristic for this individual.

We continued watching as they swam close to shore towards more Harbor Seals and milled around in the sunshine. Eventually, we started heading back towards the San Juan Channel to make our trek to Roche Harbor and see what other wildlife we could spot along the way. This included MANY Bald Eagles, more Harbor Seals, Sika and Fallow Deer, as well as Mouflon Sheep feeding on the kelp along the shoreline of Spieden Island. Our San Juan Islands are truly a spectacular place with such a biodiversity, come join us on our old fishing boat to charter these waters and see for yourself!