June 8, 2013

Amazing foraging displays from J Pod!

Unlike yesterdays tumultuous seas, it was a rather pleasant day on the water. The sun came out, and was quickly followed by sightings of J Pod. Soon after heading north out of Friday Harbor, we met up with Granny of J Pod, near Open Bay. Captain Mike, Naturalist Kevin, Naturalist Heather, and myself stuck around to watch Granny for a bit, but she was foraging at a brisk pace so we decided to check out some of her more playful family members further south.
Once we got closer, we were in for quite the show with a plethora of behaviors. There was tail slapping, breaching, and lots of spy hopping! Although as whale watchers and avid photographers it's great to see these animals jumping and splashing around, it's important to remember that all those behaviors are tools that Orcas use to forage for their food source. Whether it be tail slapping or breaching, Orcas can use those techniques to corral salmon into tight balls, or 'bait balls', to make their food easier to manage. Today we also got to see J pod utilizing the deep waters right off the coast of Kellets Bluff to potentially back salmon up against the coastline. It was amazing opportunity to see the intelligence and efficiency of these animals while foraging! Can't wait to see what our Naturalists will see next on our sunset whale watching tour today!

Caitlin, Naturalist M/V Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris