One of those 'we are so lucky to be in such a beautiful city' type of days! http://t.co/pmkVhOHZ44
This morning greeted us with cloudy skies but the rain was willing to hold off for the most part and the temperature was warm at around 20 degrees Celcius. A small group of guests from all over the world including Holland and Australia joined us in our search to watch one of Canada's most iconic and amazing creatures- killer whales! Sea conditions could not be better as the surface looked like glass. We aimed the Orca Spirit towards San Juan Island where we scoured both the open water and shorelines for any signs of these majestic black and white creatures. We travelled south past San Juan Island and along Lopez Island, stopping at a few bait balls to see if any large marine mammals had been attracted to the area. As we cruised the waters guests were impressed at the speed of the Pigeon Guillemots and Rhinoceros Auklets as they passed our boat at over 30 knots!
Our Captain received a radio call that members of J-pod were further North and moving our way! As the orcas came into view, it only took a few minutes to recognize J-2 or Granny leading the group. Granny is the oldest known orca in the world at 101 this season, and she is also the matriarch leader of J-pod so it was not surprising to see her come around the corner first. Trailing just behind Granny was her immediate family who consists of her granddaughter Samish (J-14), and Granny's great-grandchildren Hy'Shqa (J-37), Suttles (J-40), and Se-Yi'-Chn (J-45). Hy'Shqa is a Salish name that means 'blessing' and Se-Yi'-Chn means younger sibling. This is a close family who love to learn from their grandmother who knows more about life and survival than any other whale in the population. We were able to see the whales in active hunting mode as they tail slapped and dove at sharp angles to grasp salmon who would serve as breakfast. On our way back to Victoria, we were surprised by the surfacing of more J-pod whales in the straight! We came across Oreo (J-22), DoubleStuf (J-34), Cookie (J-38), and Blackberry (J-27). This is the same group we saw yesterday who separated temporarily from the rest of J-pod. When the salmon runs are not heavy, the pods need to spread out to search for enough food for everyone to eat. It was a great surprise and a great opportunity to show our guests even more members of our famous and beloved J-pod! Thanks to all for joining us, we had such a great morning with you watching the orcas.