June 30, 2009

Orcas and Minkes


J-pod on both of our trips! On our afternoon adventure we saw J-30, Riptide, along with other J-pod members.

Riptide was born in 1995 and is the eldest surviving offspring of J-14, Samish. He is maturing into an adult and is growing a very tall dorsal fin. We watched as he fished, very interesting, you can see how quickly he is capable of moving.

We also saw lots and lots of spy hopping; this is when they come up vertically with their head and portions of their pectoral fins exposed. This is one of my favorite orca moves.

On the way back to Friday Harbor on our afternoon trip we were looking at all the sea birds, mostly gulls, congregating in one spot on the ocean surface. This is a sure sign of ‘fish’. The birds were making lots of noise and sure enough we saw a Minke whale.

Minke whales are one of the smallest baleen whales. We watched for a few minutes and another minke surfaced, but this one was much smaller, one of the Captains named him “Twinkie”. “Twinkie” the baby minke…

What a great adventure, Orcas and Minkes!!! Before reaching Friday Harbor we also saw Harbor Seals, Bald Eagles, Cormorants and lots of other birds.

Naturalist Jeannette

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