May 12, 2017 – Bigg’s Killer Whales & Chain Islet
May 12, 2017
We departed the dock on the MV Pacific Explorer and proceeded east in the Strait of Juan de Fuca towards Haro Strait. Off the west side of San Juan Island, we encountered a group of four Bigg’s killer whales (mammal-hunters) entering the Lime Kiln Park. The T101 group, which consist of the female matriarch T101 and her three adult male sons (T102, T101A, & T101B), were transiting relatively quickly along the coastline of the Island. A brief sighting of a male Loughlin’s (Steller) sea lion occurred with the individual nervously keeping an eye on the T101s as they transited past him. Following this wonderful encounter with the top predator of the ocean, the MV Pacific Explorer entered Oak Bay to explore the Chain Islets. We observed a couple of harbour seals hauled out and the rest were popping up amoungst the bull kelp beds off the Chain Islets. Numerous Glaucous-winged Gulls, pigeon guillemots, and cormorants (double-crested and pelagic) were observed, along with a couple of immature bald eagles. A glorious afternoon on the waters of the Salish Sea.