July 31, 2009

Turning Points

It was an evening to behold and luckily we were there. Most, if not all, of L Pod passed by the MV Sea Lion tonight and with the number of animals that we saw there must have been some of K Pod as well. Capt. Nancy caught us up with the whale watch fleet just south of Turn Point on Stuart Island. We floated in the golden evening light as group after family group of orcas passed by us. There was Mega and Skana, all of their siblings and mothers and Gaia with his new dorsal fin scars, to name a few.

As the animals neared Turn Point they ran very close to the cliffs breaching and splashing. We saw feeding and high spirits and watched as the different groups glided through the kelp beds under the lighthouse. Our hydrophone picked up beautiful vocalizations that slowly faded as the whales moved away. The orcas blew and breached their way into the distance and we left them cruising northwest into Canadian waters.

On the way home to Friday Harbor we stopped by one of the Cactus Islands to look at 11 bald eagles feeding on a carcass. It was a mix of both juveniles and adults scattered all over the rocks and shoreline. As we watched a very large, all dark brown bird flew in and landed right on the carcass, startling all of the juveniles away. Capt. Nancy and I were hesitant to say what species of bird it was since sightings are so rare, but we think it was a golden eagle. They are occasionally seen here in the islands and it is a lucky person indeed that witnesses one of these striking birds.

What an incredible trip we had tonight and I am so glad that our guests had a chance to be with us. So, from all of us here at San Juan Safaris, thank you and we will...

See You In The Islands!
~Tristen, Naturalist

Orca Whales and Wildlife Are Our Only Business. ©