Transient Killer Whales

[08/21/17- M/V Sea Hawk- Kelsey, Naturalist- 2:00PM]

 Happy Eclipse Day! The day felt like a holiday with people taking time from their daily activities to take a step outside and view nature doin’ its thing. We took it a step further and spent not just the morning viewing the eclipse, we also spent our afternoon watchin’ some whales!

We headed out of Roche Harbor from San Juan Island and headed just slightly northwest, and just a few minutes into the trip, we were with killer whales! These were transient orcas, or the marine-mammal eaters. They eat primarily harbor seals and harbor porpoise in these waters, and we see them more during the summer because of harbor seal pupping season. Those harbor seal pups are easy pickin’ for these killer whales! The groups we were with were the T65’s and the T65A’s. Eight whales were present, primarily adult females and little juveniles. They were zigging and zagging in many different directions, but we kept with them until we were almost to Speiden Island. Hopefully they were successful catching some seals after we parted ways.

We chugged along checking out the backside of Speiden Island where we saw a bald eagle, harbor seals, wiggly river otters, and some Mouflon sheep! We also visited Flattop Island and saw some more harbor seals hauled out in the sun. There were also a ton of jellyfish in the waters, today, especially the egg-yolk jellyfish that look like fried eggs in the water with their white ring around the yellow ball of their internal structures.

Not every day is as simple and easy as this! Sunny skies, the holiday-eclipse feel, and the whales made for a pretty spectacular time out on the water of the Salish Sea!