May 15, 2009

Relaxing with J Pod in the Haro Strait

With the sun shining and the water sparkling, Captain Nancy, the other naturalist Tristen, a group of (as always) enthusiastic and eager guests, and I took off from Friday Harbor with the hopes of meeting up with J pod. To the excitement of guests, naturalists, and captains alike, J pod (the most resident pod [pod = family unit] from the Southern Resident Community) has been in the area almost every day for the past couple weeks. Captain Nancy heard word that the group was moving slowly up Henry Island.

We arrived on scene between Henry and Stuart Island to find what appeared to be all of J pod moving in one tight knit group and travelling in a resting pattern. The group moved slowly along. They had no particular destination in mind, switching directions at will. Distinct members of the pod, like - J26 (Mike), J27 (Blackberry), J1 (Ruffles), the two babies (!), and J30 (Riptide), swam amongst the pod. All members made their appearance for the crowd of pleased guests. It was a wonderful afternoon for whale viewing due to the mild weather and calm waters. J pod also made the viewing pleasant because of their slow travel and tight knit group.

On the way back toward Friday Harbor we travelled alongside Speiden, stopping first at Sentinel Rock to glispe at an adult bald eagle and hauled out harbor seals. Grazing and meandering on Speiden's southside we saw a few fallow deer and quite a few herds of both male and female muflon sheep. In a tree overhanging the water in the middle of Speiden's southside shoreline we spotted a bald eagle watching over its nest, which has a chick in this season!

We had a full array of wildlife to view today and all returned happy and worn out from a wildlife-packed afternoon!

Ashley, Naturalist