July 18, 2013

Getting Cultured

Well goodbye L-22s and hello Transients! I'm very excited for this new change of pace the last couple of days, but still sad to see our last Resident Orcas go back out the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We had the small group of eight transient Orcas come in yesterday and kill a Minke Whale and they were still around to watch today! I've never seen this group of nomads before and was just as excited as everyone on board to get some good views in!

Transient Orcas differ from our Resident Orcas in many ways including their diet, social structure, vocal traditions, pigmentology and morphology. It is still unbelievable to me that just yesterday this small family of Orcas took down a Minke Whale. Since these whales are hunting marine mammals they hardly vocalize at all. Today we saw them killing what we think to be  Harbor Seal and heard lots of great vocalizations when we dropped the hydrophone in the water! Being on the water today with our Transients, particularly this evening, was great. It's so interesting to see how two different species of Orca live, socialize and cooperate. It's important to be immersed in different culture from time to time!

Often times, transient and resident Orcas have a somewhat adversarial relationship and now you see why. Transient Orcas are not afraid to kill other whales... It's no surprise our L-22s heard the Transient whales coming in the Strait and booked it out! I hope tomorrow is going to be just as great as today!

Heather, Naturalist, M/V Sea Lion

San Juan Safaris