July 28, 2009

North and South, J's and L's!!!

We had a whale-packed day out on the MV Sea Lion today! Captain Craig, naturalist Jeannette, and I cruised all over the islands. During our afternoon trip we made our way north to Turn Point on Stuart Island (the most northwestern point of the islands AND the most northwestern point in the continental United States!). When we arrived to Turn Point J Pod was cruising on past in one tight knit group, with a few members dispersed here and there. J-1 and J-27 where in the tight pack, but as we approached closer to Turn Point J-1 (Ruffles) separated a little from the pod to do his own thing. J pod is the most resident of the three pods that make up the Southern Resident Community (the community of orcas people are typically thinking about when they hear of orcas in this area), they generally come back into the islands waters' at least once a month every month of the year. They gave us quite a show but moved rather quickly northward, so as we made our way back to Friday Harbor we were glad to here there were other orcas located somewhere near the south end of San Juan Island!

We boarded the boat for the evening tour, and headed in the opposite direction from the afternoon trip. Southward bound we cruised, excited to see what whales were located off the south side. We caught up with the whales near Castle Island of the southern side of Lopez Island. They were (just like J pod in the afternoon!) in a one tight-knit group with a few outliers here and there. We saw L 78 travelling a bit separate from the group and a few others here and there, but for the most part there was a large group spyhopping, porpoising, breaching, etc etc. It was a wonderful show on glassy calm sun-lit waters!


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