Although the day started out grey, the sunshine quickly took over in the San Juan Islands. Captain Mike lead Naturalist Emily, Naturalist Kevin, and the guests on board the M/V Sea Lion north out of Friday Harbor in the pursuit of orcas. We started the morning with no orca reports, which is common in the early season, so we went to look in areas that orcas frequent in the San Juans. As we were headed around the north side of Spieden Island two dorsal fins were spotted and moments later the call came over the radio! Two transient males, T49C and T77A were traveling in Spieden Channel. Many transients orcas have been spotted recently in the area; there have been over 50 individuals in our waters in the last week! The two male orcas passed many a harbor seal, but luckily for the seals, it did not seem to be lunch time. With great surfaces and a few rolls these tranient orcas were a treat.
After viewing the tranient orcas for a while, guests were also treated to a large group of Stellar Sea Lions hauled out on the rocks soaking up the rays. A solo California Sea Lion was also spotted sunning himself! Guests also saw several Bald Eagles and plenty of Harbor Seals.
As we motored back to Friday Harbor, we found the same two transient orcas! Just outside Friday Harbor, it seemed like the orcas possibly found an afternoon snack, as there were many quick dives and circling in the water. The two male orcas briefly split apart, but were seen swimming together again inside Friday Harbor!
Great wildlife and orca sightings along with ample sunshine made this spring tour one for the books!
M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris