We spent some time in our boat and found a pod of orcas just outside of Auke Bay near the southern tip of Shelter Island. There appeared to be between seven and eight orcas in the pod. They were split up into three groups. Two of the groups eventually came together and headed south (I believe there were six orcas in this group including two calves. One still had a peachy coloring to it.) The third group (two orcas) headed north. Judging from the seagull activity, I believe the group of six had made a kill before they started heading south toward the west side of Douglas Island. We headed north and found the third group (with two orcas) in Favorite Channel near Shelter Island. I was able to identify one of them as T63, aka Chainsaw (his name in Washington and British Columbia) or Zorro (his name here in Alaska). I have hoped that one day I would get to see T63. It was a real treat to see him. We left the area and continued north. Approximately one hour later as we were returning to Auke Bay, we spotted T63 and his companion in Favorite Channel near Halibut Cove by Shelter Island hunting a sea lion. Although we have witnessed orcas hunting, this was the first time we were able to see what they were hunting. The sea lion spent a fair amount of time on the surface breathing and appeared to be stunned or injured. However, the orcas abandoned the hunt and left the area. The sea lion eventually swam away. I wish I knew why they abandoned the hunt. We were a bit shocked by it, as it seemed like a done deal.
I took many photos, and have more to upload as soon as I get around to editing them.
There appeared to be two females and one juvenile. The pod was elusive and was being followed by ten whale watching boats. Between the elusive behavior of the orcas and the constant waves being produced by the whale watching boats, getting decent photos was impossible. It was a frustrating sighting.
A bit of a frustrating sighting due to the water conditions, the behavior of the orcas, and the position of the sun. The pod was on the move and difficult to track. There appeared to be five whales in the pod including one calf. These orcas have been identified as the T064s.
We also saw two humpbacks, Dall's porpoise, and harbour porpoise. No photos.
We spotted a lone orca near Auke Bay. The encounter was a bit frustrating due to the water conditions, the elusive behavior of the orca, and the large number of whale watching boats jockeying for position. The orca has been identified as T087. This is the second time I have seen T087 (November 26, 2016, was the first time).
The humpback encounter was equally as frustrating with the water conditions and the whale watching boat traffic.
I believe the orcas are from AG pod of the Alaska residents (fish eaters).
I happened to look out the window and noticed an orca breaching. The weather was terrible, making it extremely difficult to see them. If I had not seen the breach, I do not think I would have noticed them at all. It looked like there were three or four in the pod. They appeared to be traveling south so I drove down to sandy beach. I watched for 20 minutes and briefly saw one of them surface.
My photos are extremely blurry to due weather and distance.
A large pod of orcas were observed in the Gastineau Channel directly across from downtown Juneau. The pod was spread apart and moving very quickly. I was quite far from them, therefore, my photos are heavily cropped. The orcas appear to be part of AG pod of the Alaskan residents.
A pod of three orcas were seen in the Gastineau Channel close to Douglas Island directly across from downtown Juneau. They were moving very slowly. It appeared as though they were swimming in a circle or at least staying in the same spot. They eventually began moving south. It was almost dark, and they were at least a half mile away from me, therefore, the photos are grainy. The male has been identified as T087.
We observed a small pod of orcas near Point Retreat. There were three to five animals in the pod. They were elusive and difficult to track. We also observed three humpbacks and a pod of Dall's porpoise (no photos) in the same general area.
These were transient (mammal eaters) orcas. T065A and T65A2 have been identified. Many thanks to Northern Resident Orca Population for identifying these whales for me.
A pod of five orcas were observed near Point Retreat. As we came into the area we noticed a large number of gulls flying around and landing on the water. After a few minutes we realized there were orcas in the same area as the gulls. We quickly determined that the orcas must have recently made a kill, which attracted the gulls. As we were moving closer to the area, but still approximately 200 to 300 yards away from the pod, we were shocked to see one of the orcas making a beeline for our boat. We quickly put our motor in neutral and watched in amazement as it circled our boat for two to three minutes. It then left and went back to the rest of the pod. The pod stayed in the area, clearly feeding based on the bird activity. At times they appeared to be celebrating and socializing with breaching and tail slapping. As we were watching the orcas, a humpback whale surfaced and passed by.
The pod has been identified as the T124Ds and T124A2s. These are transient (mammal eaters) orcas. Many thanks to Northern Resident Orca Population for identifying these whales for me.
This was a new experience for us. One we surely never will forget.