A Transient (Mammal-Eating) Orca

[8/9/17- M/V Sea Hawk- Kelsey, Naturalist- 2:00PM]

In recent days, we have not been seeing orcas, because they were just out finding food elsewhere! But today, our luck changed and we saw some transient (mammal-hunting) orcas, just southwest of San Juan Island!

M/V Sea Hawk had quite the trip in store as we moseyed out of Roche Harbor towards Victoria, BC. We finally reached some orcas, and they were soon identified as the T18 family group. This cozy little family of four consists of their matriarch T18 who was born in 1974, another female T19 who was born in 1969, and T19’s children, two adult large males, T19B and T19C. T19B has a very distinct curved, blunt-topped dorsal fin that leans to the left a bit, and T19C has a very tall, pointy dorsal fin. It was very cool to get a chance to see two huge adult males travelling side by side and rising up amongst the females to breathe. They were all so majestic! The group was casually travelling northeast, and as we followed them, we ended up actually departing them near Mosquito Pass outside of Roche Harbor. This was super convenient, because this left for plenty of time for exploring other cool wildlife!

We ended up making a fun pass around Henry Island and spotting some awesome bald eagles at their nest, and we continued on to see Speiden Island and the Mouflon sheep and Sika deer! We watched the deer standing on their back legs to grab tree leaves, and the Mouflon sheep babies chasing each other in giddy circles. As if that wasn’t fun enough, we were just about to leave… and then we saw some river otters!! There were several of them, wiggling and sliding onto the shoreline and grabbing at a fish one of them had caught. It was so fun!

Today was truly amazing, simple, and perfect. It’s not every day you get to see orcas, exotic sheep and deer, bald eagles, AND river otters! Not only that, but we had a lovely and relaxing Roche Harbor to welcome us home. Again... simply perfect.