By John Ryan
KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio 

Endangered orcas dodge diesel spill off San Juan Island

58 foot fishing boat sank Sunday in 100 feet of water


August 17, 2022

Scott Durham

FORTUNATELY, ONLY ONE DISASTER HERE – The 58 foot Aleutian Isle took on water and sank Saturday, Aug. 12. Somehow the endangered southern resident orcas J pod, swimming from Vancouver Island toward San Juan Island, turned away from "heading into a volatile toxic spill." A second disaster, averted.

A fishing boat carrying 2,600 gallons of fuel sank off the western shore of San Juan Island on Saturday, releasing an oily sheen that spread for 2 miles in critical habitat for the Northwest's endangered orcas.

Researchers called it "incredibly lucky" that the whales and the diesel apparently never crossed paths.

The crew aboard the Aleutian Isle radioed for help Saturday, saying they were taking on water. They abandoned their sinking ship and clambered into the skiff they normally use to maneuver the boat's purse-like net to capture salmon.

Two other salmon-fishing boats, the Marathon and the...

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