June 8, 2010

Orca Whales and Mountain Vistas

The reports were in, telling us to search near the west side of San Juan Island for a group of L-pod orca whales.  We arrived at False Bay shortly after departing from Friday Harbor.  A cross-cultural crew of guests from Singapore to Kentucky adjusted their binoculars and were ready to see our famous Southern Resident Orcas.  Their dreams of visiting the remarkable San Juan Islands this summer had finally become a reality.  From the sunny deck of the Sea Lion we saw a tall, glossy dorsal fin slice through the surface of the water.  The scar half way down the dorsal fin hinted that we were looking at L-41 "Mega".  Mega was born in 1977, one year after the study of the Southern Resident Community had begun.  We have been able to watch him grow from a small calf into the large adult male that we saw today.  We continued south to view three other members of the pod near Lime Kiln State Park.  The site was picture perfect.  The orcas were swimming right in front of the Lime Kiln lighthouse and snow-capped Mount Baker was off in the distance.  I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.  We returned back to Friday Harbor, enjoying the clear views of Mount Rainer and the Olympic Mountains.

Sally, Naturalist