September 3, 2009

Surprising Arisings!

Well, I can't tell you what a treat it is to be headed off on a wildlife trip with no hope of seeing orcas and then you get "The Call". For the past two days we have motored up San Juan Channel, swung north around Flattop Island and then been alerted of another boat finding orcas. Yesterday it was transients in Canada, today it was residents at the south end of the island. Both days, we had already informed our guests of the bad news of no orcas, but of our intention to visit the haunts of other wildlife in the hopes of coming around a corner and seeing whales. Who knew that our luck would be so good.

For both Jaclyn and I, yesterday marked a special first. We have seen many transient orcas, which look very much like our residents, but neither one of us has seen a transient eat something. Yesterday though, a little harbor seal was the target and he put up a very valiant fight to escape. With four well trained hunters around though, it did not stand a chance. The whole encounter was fraught with tension, but not the horror that most people would expect and the orcas were just doing what was necessary to survive.

Today was just as thrilling. We had finished looking at Flattop Island and were admiring all of the exotic animals on Spieden when suddenly, Capt. Nancy turned the M/V Sea Lion around and raced off into the channel. "Contact" had been made and what we originally thought were going to be more transients, were then reported as a family from L pod and turned out to be nearly every member of L pod with some of K pod as well! What a shock that was, especially since all of the reports had been of the three resident pods northeast of Active Pass in Canada going farther north!

Luck and good whale fortune have been with us this week and it continues to allow us to show our guests the beauty and majesty of the Pacific Northwest. These were trips of great memories for both the crews and the visitors and we were happy to have hosted you all.

So, from all of us here at San Juan Safaris, to all of you bold adventurers out there, thank you and we will...

See You In The Islands!
~Tristen, Naturalist

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