August 15 2018 – Today was a smokey day with Killer Whales. Over the past week smoke from interior forest fires had blown down to Juan de Fuca Strait and settled in.
This morning we headed north up Haro Strait as there was a report of Transient Killer Whales near San Juan Island. When we caught up to the whales we saw they were the T2C family consisting of the matriarch T2C, a.k.a. Tasu and her 4 offspring T2C1 a male named Rocky, T2C2 a male named Tumbo, T2C3 a female named Lucy and T2C4 a young calf born in 2017. When we got to the family Tumbo wasn’t with them. He has scoliosis, a disease that causes the spine to curve. Because of his scoliosis Tumbo swims slowly and has a hard time keeping up with his family often lagging a kilometre or more behind. The family stops or slows down regularly to allow Tumbo to catch up. Tumbo also can’t participate in hunts of marine mammals such as seals, sea lions and porpoises – but the rest of the family always shares the kill with him demonstrating the strong social bonds within killer whale families. After spending time with these whales we headed to the Chain Islets where we saw Harbour Seals, Gulls, Cormorants and a juvenile Bald Eagle.
In the afternoon we headed back to Haro Strait. The T2C family had slowed down to let Tumbo catch up so were still close enough for us to reach. When we caught up to them we saw all 5 members of the family traveling slowly north. After spending more time with this family we headed home having had a good day on the water.
Crew members Gord and Jane took some great photos from today’s trip and you can find them on our Facebook Page.