I posted 8 photos on Facebook in the album "" http://t.co/7TlGYTCFjB
July 29, 2011
An absolutely lovely morning greeted the crew and passengers abord the Orca Spirit and smooth sailing saw us to the northern point of San Juan island in Washington state. The seas were so glassy we were able to turn our boat engines off and just drift offshore. After a few moments Orcas started to pop up to the North, we watched them moving south along the island's coast, snapping photos in the early morning sunlight. One passenger's photos allowed us to identify the J-12 group including the mother Samish (J14) and her two offspring Riptide (J30) and Se-Yi-Chn (J45). The trio were swimming side by side, a close family unit. The procession continued with many whales from the J and K pods as well as some members of the L pod all appearing as specks to the north and moving closer, finally passing us as they continued to cruise south past Lime Kiln Lighthouse. A few other whales were identified: K25 (Scoter), K26 (Lobo), and L41 (Mega).
Our trip back was just as sunny and calm across Haro Strait. We meandered through the Chain Islands looking for Seals and Eagles as well as a Great Blue Heron fishing in the shallows, enjoying the scenery of Chatham Island with it's distinctive red Arbutus trees.
Our afternoon trip was equally incredible, we found the whales father south along the bottom stretch of San Juan. They were much more spread out, actively hunting and fishing in the afternoon tides. A group of Orcas came near enough to enable a good photo ID. We determined that there was K27 (Deadhead) and her two week old calf, still orange from mom's amniotic fluids. We watched the family group bump the little whale to the surface time and time again, ensuring it was getting enough air in the slightly choppy seas and tides. A heart warming encounter, the little Orca was closely watched by not only mom, but also a big brother and possibly a sister or aunt. This little family made for some good pictures before we moved off and spotted the K13 family travelling nearby. There were whales aplenty and when we finally had to turn back towards sunny Victoria Harbour it was with full cameras and happy faces.