June 25, 2009

For The Love of Whales

Not wind, nor weather, nor water can deter us. If the whales are in the vicinity then we will do all we can to get to them. So said our guests today on the MV Sea Lion. Despite the grey skies and the spitting rain everyone was ready to get out on the water and commune with whales. We were in no way disappointed. The reports had been of sporadic behavior, but we found the whales at the South end of the island moving around in classic feeding patterns, which means that they were swimming everywhere.

We were on scene with the Orcas for a few minutes traveling with them as they moved offshore. Whales could be seen spread out over a large area traveling in small groups or even as singles. Suddenly, through what must have been a direct command or agreement, all of the whales changed direction and started heading west. The Orcas collected together into a group and increased their speed as we continued to see some erratic movements that coincided with feeding.

There was a general sense of urgency about their travels and we saw a number of spyhops and tail slaps. The tail slaps may have been a means to gather together and even herd salmon and other fish for feeding. The spyhops might also help with that since it gives the whales a chance to see where other members of the pod are, where the boats are and how far away the coastline is.

Finally, time and rough water forced our return to port, but not before we saw one juvenile and two adult bald eagles on Long Island. As well as a Bald Eagle that buzzed over Goose Island and sent all of the nesting birds into the sky in a frenzy. Despite the grey skies our day was golden with the glow of time spent with J pod, members of our beautiful Southern Resident Orcas.

From Capt. Nancy, Jaclyn, San Juan Safaris and myself, thank you to all of you nature lovers out there and we will...

See You In The Islands!
~Tristen, Naturalist

Orca Whales and Wildlife Are Our Only Business. ©