August 31, 2019

J Pod Frolicking near Eagle Cove!!

Southern Resident Killer Whales

Laura C. | M/V Sea Lion | 8/31/2019 | 1:30 pm

Today was a marvelous day aboard M/V Sea Lion!  With several reports of whales in the area, we headed northbound through San Juan Channel full of excitement and anticipation of our upcoming wildlife sightings!  As we rounded San Juan Island into the Haro straight we found harbor porpoises cruising through the area in search of some fish!  These animals prefer areas with strong upwelling and current changes providing more prey availability and, in my opinion, a really fun place to swim around!

On the west side of San Juan Island between Lime Kiln State Park and Eagle Cove we were elated to see J Pod!  These Southern Resident killer whales were fanned out and traveling in a more scattered pattern today.  Blackberry was towering over a few females in the area and was distinguishable by his high-profile dorsal fin!  Cookie, or J38, was also in the area and is one of my personal favorite members of J Pod!  His characteristic dorsal fin is slightly more rounded, and I have had several wonderful moments enjoying just being in his presence and admiring his large stature.  I am always so happy to see him traveling through these waters with his family.

One whale decided it was time to jump completely out of the water and conducted several breaches in a row!  Passengers were thrilled to have this repeat performance and we were able to catch the act on video!  Everyone enjoyed watching replays from their phones or cameras after because it is an impromptu and magical behavior to witness in the wild by a 12,000-pound animal!

The day continued with J Pod tail-slapping and spy-hopping and turning over on their backs at the surface!  I love when these whales become so surface active because it gives everyone a glimpse into their underwater world and start to understand their social behavior and personalities.  With only 73 Southern Residents left in the world, and being able to see them in their home today was an experience that I will always remember as one of my best life-long wildlife encounters!