July 29, 2010

J-pod Fan Club

Today we traveled north towards Stuart Island.  Captain Mike stayed in close communication with the other whale watching vessels; he received many reports that the whales were in that area.  Our spirits rose with anticipation!  Shortly after we departed Friday Harbor we spotted a bald eagle soaring high above San Juan Island.  As we neared Stuart Island the orca whales were traveling south down Haro Strait.  We traveled parallel to the direction they were heading along the west side of San Juan Island.  We identified J-1 "Ruffles", J-16 "Slick", and J-30 "Riptide".  There are 28 members of the J-pod, with 4 new calves in the last year.  Tristen, my fellow naturalist, and I encouraged the guests to submit their ideas for naming a few of the new calves.  The names are voted on at the Whale Museum and the lucky winner will receive an orca adoption package for one year and of course, bragging rights.  The whales were active today; we observed a few breaches and a lot of tail slapping.  After spending a good amount of time with the orcas we turned back to Friday Harbor.  However we couldn't resist slowing the boat to view the harbor seals basking in the sun on many of the rocky outcroppings.