Wildlife galore today! We departed Friday Harbor with a northbound heading: towards the sunshine. We had quite a pleasant ride up into the waters of Canada, with a few gray harbor porpoises traveling with us and a silver harbor seal peering at us from the ocean.
Off in the distance, we spotted five vessels off Saltspring Island, Canada. They appeared to be observing some transient killer whales. As our boat–the Sea Lion–got closer, we were able to identify a large male orca with a hooked or oddly notched dorsal fin. He was later identified as T87. Other vessels identified his companions as “the T90s,” which would be T90 and a calf from 2005, T90B. We did notice a calf with the group of five and thought that because of its small size it may be a calf younger than T90B. The pod continued to zigzag around the boats and, at times, under the boats appearing on the other side of us after four to five minute down times.
Due to our distance covered, we had a long journey (with more wildlife to see) to get back to the harbor. Along the way, we stopped off to see “transient orca food.” Off Spieden island, we encountered about ten harbor seals, half of which were hauled out of the water on the rocks with the other half in the water each curled up in a U-shape trying to get their heads and fins out of the water to warm up.
Word from another vessel told us that close by there was a dead harbor seal with Bald Eagles foraging on its carcass. Off we went! Not too far from the live safe warming seals, we found the dead one. At least four eagles were spotted in the trees and one bald eagle was at the carcass ripping shreds of meat off it! No dead sea creature is wasted out here.
Along our final approach to Friday Harbor, we saw two more harbor porpoises and even in the harbor by our slip we saw another harbor seal. Yup, another piece of potential transient orca food, but this one safely swimming about the harbor, foraging for its own meal.
San Juan Safaris