May 22, 2017 – Transient Orcas & Minke Whale
May 22, 2017
We could not believe the weather as we headed out of the harbour this afternoon on the hottest day of the year so far. Flat calm seas and bright sun provided the perfect spotting conditions as we headed up Haro Strait in search of our favorite black and white animals. The word on the water was that we had a big group of transient, or mammal-eating, killer whales off San Juan Island. When we got on scene the boat came alive with excited squeals and pointing. The large group had split into two and we spent time with both groups. First we spotted the T124As which are 5 whales in a family group. After visiting the 124As we swapped over to the T90s which are 2 female whales and an immature male who hasn’t yet sprouted his tall dorsal fin yet! The T90s were travelling with T87 who is a lone male often spotted with the T90s. He is easy to identify because of a rectangular shaped knick out of the top of his fin. It’s always great to be able to see a female and mature male together to see the size difference!
The trip back had everyone chatting and enjoying the sunshine. After taking a short detour behind Chatham Island to look for eagles, harbour seals and the elusive Songhees seawolf, we got a radio message from another boat. A juvenile Minke whale was feeding along the front side of the island! Minke whales are shy and often not seen with a predictable diving pattern. This little whale was probably only a year old and we saw it surface 4 times before going down on a foraging dive. What a fun way to cap off a perfect day on the Salish Sea!