May 13, 2011

J Pod of the Resident Orca Whales at Active Pass

We headed north past Waldron Island where we stopped to check out some Harbor Seals feeding on a fish.  They were tossing it and diving after it.  Good start to the day.
As we crossed into Canadian waters we could see Steller Sea Lions on the rocks at East Point. We stopped to check them out.  There were a couple of big males making lots of noise and we could see Harbor Seals hauled out at the other end of the rock.  Then we got a call about whales north west of Active Pass. We left the seals and headed around the corner.
When we got into the area we could just make out a boat on the horizon and could see blows through the binoculars. We continued on. Suddenly Captain Mike saw a blow much closer to us.  We slowed to try to catch another look but it disappeared. We sat and waited, convinced that we had seen it and not willing to give up. A few minutes later we saw two whales surface a quarter mile behind us.  It looked like a mom and calf. They were cruising. We turned around and tried to catch up parallel to the whales but they were moving fast. We noticed a single whale in closer to shore and then saw it turn toward the two whales we were watching.
The duo did a 180 and became very surface active.  Lots of twisting and turning with tails in the air.  Eventually the single caught up and then we noticed blood in the water. Not sure what exactly it was but it looked to have been something large and delicious. Once again the whales continued on their eastern course. We watched for a while and then headed home, happy and slightly sunburned.

Laura, Swoyer,

Naturalist, San Juan Safaris