Yesterdays trip turned out to be pretty great! Lots of whales, wildlife and rare findings! We left Friday Harbor and headed for the west side of San Juan Island to catch up with the T-120 group of mammal hunting transient orcas, stoping along the way to see harbor seals and steller sea lions.
When we got to the orcas they were traveling at a very fast speed, probably chasing their prey. Just as I was telling guests how orcas hunt cooperatively and come together in a tight group when they begin to initiate the kill, they began to do that. It happened very quickly and subtly, but when we all saw the pair of harbor seal lungs floating on the surface, almost surgically removed from the body, we all knew what had happened! Orca whales have very dexterous tongs and use their large cone shaped teeth with precision. It was incredible to see how carefully, yet speedily they disarticulated the lungs from the body of the seal. Transients are actually known to leave the lungs. I guess they are just not as good as the rest of the meat!
We also saw a mother and calf pair of humpback whales on Kelp Reef! It was a great day!
Heather, Naturalist, M/V Sea Lion
San Juan Safaris