Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
June 28, 2011
Our whale watching trip left Ogden Point with a great view of the Olympic Mountains and seas so calm you could see your own reflection! We had a report that there were resident orcas north of Lime Kiln Park on San Juan Island. We headed east to see if we could find black and white whales! We passed San Juan Island to find J and K-pods off Henry Island. The whales were spread out along the shores of the island, cruising along slowly. We saw the tall and slender dorsal fin of Onyx (L-87), break the surface of the water. We soon spotted more dorsal fins of a group of females and calves. Blackberry (J-27), was easily recognised with his distinct saddle patch and dorsal fin. We have seen lots of this mature male lately, and we love him! You can never visit with an orca too many times! The whales appeared to be looking for salmon to meet their requirement of 200-300 pounds of fish a day. The whales use echolocation to find salmon hiding amongst the rocky shelves below the surface of the water. The gracefulness of the family of orcas awed guests, we all enjoyed the sounds of the whales expelling their breathe in big plumes of mist about the surface. We headed back to Victoria after a great visit with the whales, but not before stopping at Chain Islands to see some Harbour Seals basking in the sun on some submerged rocks, surrounded by bull kelp. It was a beautiful day to be on the waters and with the whales in the Salish Sea!
We headed out on an afternoon whale watching tour with beautiful skies and calm waters. We saw the whales in the morning, but they were moving very far north. We had to go all the way to North Pender Island, but the long ride was worth the wait! We arrived to find members of J-pod mixed with some K-pod members. These are two of the three pods that make up the southern resident population. Most of the whales were hugging the shoreline as they used their sophisticated sonar to find salmon. We some amazing group behaviour and great splashing as they slapped their tails on the surface of the water. Often members of the pods work cooperatively to herd and catch fish. Sometimes they even feed each other, splitting a salmon between two family members. We were able to identify Onyx (L-87), Blackberry (J-28), a K-pod male, and several females and young calves. Guests enjoyed being able to get great shots of the saddle patches and dorsal fins on the whales, as they were surfacing very slowly. Guests and crew spent time on the way back to Victoria looking at newly captured photos to identify the whales we were so happy to spend time with today. It was a beautiful day to be on the water and enjoy the company of some of the most intelligent animals in the world!