August 24, 2009

Into the Fog!

Residents have returned to our waterways! After 2 days in the Strait and ocean, members of the fish-eating Orca community have made their way back towards San Juan Island. They were just off the south end...moving from Salmon Bank inshore towards Eagle Point and False Bay.

The fog was incredibly thick to the south, masking the Orcas, other boats, and even the island in a damp sock of white. Jeannette and I were the lookouts for Captain Craig....this was what I call "extreme whale watching".....after well over an hour of searching and the Orcas continually eluding the boats in the fog we got our first peek at 2 dorsal fins. The calm seas allowed us to hear the blows or breathing of the whales better than we could see them! One whale spyhopped twice taking a peak above the water.

Jeannette was so excited to hear echolocation above the water's surface! With the hydrophone in we were able to hear more echolocation and vocalizations. The Orcas were lost again in the fog...we were ready to call it quits and head north to find other wildlife when we were graced with views of at least a dozen Orcas....lots of directional changes, they seemed to be fishing....(we saw several salmon jump throughout the afternoon).

Our guests got some nice photographs in the fog. I was able to ID J28 in the mix with several L pod members....L72 with her 5-year-old son L105 and and his uncle L95 were amongst the Orcas. We left to circumnavigate the island....(where? what island?) and suddenly it was a gorgeous day with the sun shining and the fog was just a memory.

Welcome to the Pacific Northwest! Another amazing day, where the weather and nature will always surprise you.

-Jaclyn Van Bourgondien, naturalist
Orca Whales and Wildlife Are Our Only Business. ©