Shortly after we left the marina, we were engulfed in heavy fog and choppy water. But with reports of Transients (Biggs) orcas near Victoria, we sped southwest, hoping they wouldn’t disappear before we got there. After stopping to view some adorable seals, the fog lifted and we came on scene south of Hein Bank, about 3 miles off Dungeness Spit, to find the T10 and T60 groups. T10, the eldest female, has an estimated birthday of 1963, and she has a very distinctive notch in her dorsal fin. The two very large males were staying close to each other most of the time. One of them, T60 (born 2001) apparently has a new tilt to the tip of his dorsal fin, with a very obvious scar. There was also a sweet calf in this group, though old enough not to show any orangy/pink color in the white areas. They circled around, sometimes skimming right below the surface, and grouped up in synch a few times, which is always so lovely to see. We reluctantly left them to see if there were any humpbacks around (none!), and motored home in the sunshine and calm water, going by Lopez Island and viewing eagles, turkey buzzards and oystercatchers on the craggy rocks just off shore. Another wonderful summer day on the Salish Sea! ~Bonnie Gretz, volunteer naturalist.
Photos by Bonnie Gretz