June 6, 2010

It must be summer! Sunshine, Smiling Tourists and Orcas Galore!

The sun was shining, the waters were calm, the guests were smiling and life couldn't have been more peachy as we departed Friday Harbor. Summer feels like it is finally approaching here in the islands. In town tourists wander the streets, hopping in and out of shops. On the water whale watch boats, private boats, ferries, and the occasional tall ship meander through the channels, bays and straits. With things picking up here in town, the Kittiwake and the Sea Lion (both our boats) both departed the harbor with a boatload of guests.

Captain Craig put the throttle in high gear and motored straight on up to Point Roberts. Point Roberts is a funny little peninsula of U.S. land that you either have to drive through Canada to get to, or take a boat. We caught up with J Pod way north, with Point Roberts so close you could see the marina.

J Pod members were spread out, swimming this way and that, off the coast of Point Roberts. Throughout the trip they appeared to be fishing. We had some EXCELLENT views of J8, Speiden and of the J16 family group. What I mean by the "J16 family group" is J16 and her children. Orcas are matrilineal, meaning they stay with their mothers their entire lives. J16, or Slick, and her children, J26 (Mike), J42 (Echo, my favorite whale!), J33 (Keet), and J36 (Alki) swam along together, providing us with some great views! Occasionally they would porpoise after a fish, but for the most part they just traveled along, turning this way and that.

We waved goodbye to the orcas, turned back south to make the long trek home. Along the trip back we saw harbor porpoises left and right. The sun shone on our faces and the wind whipped through our hair. We arrived back to Friday Harbor sun-kissed and wind-beaten , happy to have reached the orcas.

Over and out,
Ashley
Naturalist