Captain’s Blog

Bigg’s Killer Whales

June 24, 2018

This morning, we headed out aboard the Pacific Explorer and headed east towards Iceberg Point on the southern end of Lopez Island. We had reports of orcas heading west, so we headed off to investigate. Along the way, we had a brief encounter with a very elusive humpback whale. When we arrived on scene near Lopez Island, we saw a group of about 6 or 7 Bigg’s killer whales – the T65As. This group of orcas spends much of their time around the San Juan Islands.

Our encounter with the killer whales was a nice one as we watched the orcas forage in the tide rips for seals and sea lions near Whale Rocks. On the rocks were several young Steller sea lions. This was a surprise encounter, as it this point in the summer, sea lions often head to their breeding colonies. We left the orcas as they began making their way up San Juan Channel.

For the afternoon tour, we headed south into Juan de Fuca Strait as unfortunately the morning’s orcas had headed out of our range. We travelled deep south into the Strait, investigating many important humpback feeding grounds along the way. After a long search, we received reports of a humpback whale southeast of Discovery Island. We concluded our day on the Salish Sea with a nice encounter with a humpback whale, travelling with it as it made its way east. It was another great day in the company of whales.

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