On October 7, 2022 two families of Bigg's killer whales, the T065As and T099s, successfully hunted an adult Minke whale south of the San Juan Islands in Washington state. We were able to document the hunt as well as the hours long feeding behavior afterwards. Bigg's killer whales in the Salish Sea predominately prey on harbor seals, sea lions and porpoise.
This was an incredibly rare event to witness, and joining us as our guest to help tell the story of the minke takedown is friend and colleague, April Ryan. Along with Jeff and Sara, April is a captain and marine naturalist with Maya's Legacy Whale Watching in Friday Harbor.
Truth be told we recorded episode 8 the night before the minke hunt. It was such a rare event that we had to reset and re-record. So the episode begins with part of the original recording where we discuss some recent sightings, including large aggregations of humpbacks. These aggregations are sometimes seen in the Salish Sea and can number between 50-100 whales. We also talk about some newly documented calves, including one Sara documented last week.
After discussing the humpbacks April joins Sara and Jeff to recount the minke hunt. The minke whale was a known minke who we have seen on our tours. She was first documented in the Salish Sea in 1982, as an adult, making her approximately 50 years old.
After this, we move on to answer some questions submitted by listeners about how we got here. How did we get into whale watching and find our way to San Juan Island.