There had been no reports of orcas as "Natsilane" of San Juan Island Whale & Wildlife Tours left the docks but while we were at Salmon Bank off the West side of San Juan Island looking for minke whales, I spotted blows and dorsal fins in the distance!! It turned out to be the same Transient orcas that were in the area the day before, chowing down on a minke whale that they had killed. They were two unrelated matrilines called the T034's, and T037's. While we were with them, the orcas were mostly in travel mode, with the young ones goofing off a lot.
The two families continued North in Haro Strait and took down a harbor porpoise in the evening. During the night, these two matrilines left the area, while the another Transient orca matriline called the T030's entered, as well as a different species of killer whale, the Southern Residents!
Melisa Pinnow grew up on San Juan Island in Washington State. She recently graduated from Evergreen State College with a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and ornithology. She is a certified marine naturalist for San Juan Excursions and also works at the Center for Whale Research. It is her hope that sharing her orca encounters will inspire others to love and protect these magnificent creatures for generations to come.