© Five Star Whale Watching/Katie Smith. Image — A juvenile Bigg’s orca clears the surface to breathe amongst other pod members south of San Juan Island this morning.
We had a fantastic trip this morning experiencing the sights and sounds of the Salish Sea. Today we headed east towards the San Juan Islands. When we reached the south side of San Juan Island, between Lopez Island, we spotted orca whales!
These animals were transient, or Bigg’s, orcas. They are a marine mammal-eating ecotype that feed on a variety of prey in the area. We noticed a very small juvenile in the group! Young orcas have yellow-tinged coloration on areas typically pure white on adults (see above image). We saw exciting behaviours like spyhopping and tail slapping. Spyhopping is when a whale lifts head vertically out of the water to look around at its surroundings. Tail slapping often makes a loud clap as the whale slaps its tail hard onto the water.
Before heading home, we took a look at Whale Rocks. We saw Steller Sea Lions resting on the rocks. This is a common haul-out area for other pinnipeds such as harbour seals- all possible prey for these orcas.
We had an exciting day on the water seeing these active orcas and some massive sea lions!
To view more images from today’s trips, click on the link below: