FRIDAY HARBOR, WA and VICTORIA, BC — More than four dozen orcas were spotted throughout the Salish Sea over Easter weekend, including two “celebri-whales” known for their unusual appearance.
The “J Pod,” which is part of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population, was seen moving slowly up the east coast of San Juan Island, with the whales swimming in close social groups, the Pacific Whale Watch Association reported.
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Pods of Bigg’s killer whales, which are transient orcas, were seen among the San Juan Islands in both President’s Channel and Haro Strait heading north into Canada and along the south end of Lopez Island. There was also a report of a small pod of Bigg’s killer whales in south Puget Sound.
In all, 56 killer whales were seen by naturalists.
If that wasn’t enough, there were some special guests among the sightings, including the Bigg’s killer whale known as Chainsaw for his distinctive notched dorsal fin. Chainsaw was seen with his pod in Haro Strait, the boundary waters between the U.S. and Canada.
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Also spotted among the pods was a transient orca known for its rare gray and white color. The whale, named Tl’uk, which translates to “moon” in the language of the Indigenous Coast Salish people, was born in 2018 and made quite a splash last fall when it was seen regularly traveling through Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.
Researchers say more than 200 Bigg’s killer whales are usually documented in the Salish Sea each year.
For more information, visit: pacificwhalewatchassociation.com/