August 30, 2009

Oreo Doublestuff Cookie!

A foggy morning had one ferry very much behind schedule...but no worries....we are on "island time". Lots of Orcas out there today and they were in no rush! Nor were we.

On our way out I saw my 1st Stellar Sea Lion of the season! A big male, snorting as he surfaced and exhaled, swimming in Cattle Pass. I love these guys. A male Stellar can weigh as much as 2000 pounds! Just huge compared to our Harbor Seals which weigh in around 250-300 pounds.

J-pod, one of our 3 pods of Resident Killer Whales, was cruising around the southwest end of the island when we met them today. Flat calm, no bumps today...just a gorgeous afternoon. The Orcas were very spread out with some hugging the coastline off of Eagle Point & False Bay, while others were 2 miles offshore. Lots of directional changes, foraging, the occasional half-breach or spyhop....We had lots of nice views of J34, named Doublestuff, who's an 11-year-old male just starting to really "sprout" his dorsal fin. Not too far away was mom J22 (Oreo) and 6-year-old brother J38 (Cookie). The vocalizations of this family were amazing!! Lots of squeals, echolocation, and a faint call that reminded me of a cow moo-ing. haha! It was great! Later, J26 (Mike) surfaced showing his tall dorsal with mom J16 (Slick) just logging at the surface. Not to be left out, little 2-year-old Echo J42 came porpoising if to say..."Wait for me!" A wonderful day...the Orcas were all off of Salmon Bank as we left with J14 and her offspring...(including the very small & cute newborn J45) in a close knit group surfacing together! Yet another day enjoying the natural beauty of our islands and its wildlife.

Hope to see you out here!
Jaclyn, naturalist

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