July 7, 2016

Mission: Transient Killer Whale - Venture to the Great White North

Every day is a new mission at San Juan Safaris - some days we only have to travel 5 miles outside the harbor to see something interesting, and some days we have to travel all the way up to the Canadian Gulf Islands, to an unconfimed report of possible killer whales traveling away from us at a pretty good speed. Chasing rumors like this is exactly what some of us need to satisfy our adventurous spirit, so we took our chances and, with the approval from a charter of four willing individuals, we trekked northwards.

On our way to the last report in Active Pass, called in by a BC ferry, we heard wind of another set of orcas near Otter Bay in the Pender Islands. We were just passing by that area, so we turned around the corner and started searching. With our eyes peeled for knife-like black dorsal fins and tall, lingering blows, we slowly passed through the area, keeping communication open with the other memebers of the Pacific Whale Watch Foundation that were also perusing the same waters. Finally, with a stroke of good luck and expert binocular skills, we finally spotted a shiny black whale porpoising through the water, throwing white sea spray to either side of her.

We exalted in our good fortune and observed this small family of transient killer whales as they sped thorugh the Pender Islands. Once we got some good looks in, we turned back for America and began our journey back home. The waters were glassy and turqoise green as we moved through San Juan Channel and re-entered Friday Harbor with a strong feeling of success.