September 1, 2009

September is here - and so are the whales!

The cloudy day today was more reminiscent of autumn, reminding us that fall is indeed fast approaching - but that didn't stop the whales or guests from enjoying the San Juan Islands in all their glory. But not to fear, I read a weather forecast calling for sunshine (at least during the day) tomorrow, meaning that summer doesn't seem to have left us just yet. What a fantastic summer it's been for whale watching this year and today was not exception!

Captain Craig, Naturalist Jaclyn and I cruised northward, with a boat full of jolly inquisitive guests, towards Saturna Island's (a Canadian Gulf Island - so we made an international trip today) East Point. The mighty MV Sea Lion caught up with the orcas in Boundary Pass - they were spread out all throughout the area - in the middle of the pass and relatively close to the shorelines of both Saturna and Waldron Islands.

When we first arrived the first whales were moving fast, porpoising close to the shore of Saturna Island. Then they slowed down quite a bit and some whales continued travelling southwest, while others stopped for a bit and milled around off of East Point. The orcas were very spread out, travelling mostly in tight-groups of four to seven whales. Blackberry, J27 (an 18 year old male) and his younger brother Mako, J39 cruised through the middle of the pass. Other members of J Pod we spotted included J1, Ruffles and probably J42, Echo. In another group of whales we saw K40, Raggedy and the youngster, K42. We saw a wide array of behavior, including spyhops, tailslaps, breaches, and porpoising - but for the most part the animals just travelled along headed in a generally southwesterly direction.

As usual, it was a great day out on the water.

Until next time,
Ashley, Naturalist

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