July 13, 2020

J Pod Seen Foraging on Alden Bank!!

J Pod Foraging on Alden Bank

Laura | M/V Sea Lion | 7/13/2020 | 1:30 PM

M/V Sea Lion rocked it today in the Rosario Strait!  We left the dock with reports of a humpback whale south of San Juan Island and a potential orca whale sighting near Point Roberts in the Strait of Georgia from this morning.  Our captain and I discussed our tactic and decided to steam north in hopes of getting to see something black and white today.  Passengers were fully behind this notion and eagerly scanned with their binoculars across the horizon line, in hopes of being the first one onboard to see a killer whale.  We made our way through Mosquito Pass and through Obstruction Pass into the Rosario Strait.  We were thrilled to stop and get an awesome look at a beautiful pair of bald eagles nicely situated in the center of Peapod Rocks, as well as about fifty harbor seals!  These seals were scattered all along the rocks, perfectly happy basking in the midday warm sun.  Some were even taking a cool dip along the nearby kelp beds!

As we headed north towards the Strait of Georgia anticipation rose as there was another whale watch vessel who spotted one tall black dorsal fin!  A male killer whale was somewhere in our field of view!  Captain Erick slowed our vessel as we approached the area with surrounding whale watch vessels and orca sightings.  It did not take us long to start seeing several fins come up all around us along the horizon line, about 8 individuals in all!  The first male was identified as J39 (Mako), a member of the J11s.   For the remainder of the trip I believe we were surrounded by the J16s, including J26 (Mike), J36 (Alki), J42 (Echo), and J16 herself (Slick).  J16 is the mother and the rest of her offspring!  Passengers were lucky to see their springy behavior, including some tail slaps and breaching!!  Towards the end of our trip, a couple of orcas turned right towards our vessel!  Captain Erick immediately shut off our engine, and everyone had an up close and personal encounter with orcas as they swam right by our stern.  It was a wonderful encounter!   It was so great seeing J Pod in the Salish Sea today, and they may potentially travel down the Rosario Strait this evening, fingers crossed that they turn towards the west side of San Juan Island!