Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
Today our trip began bright and early with sunny weather as we began our trip. The Orca Spirit left the harbour and turned east, with choppy water trying to slow us down. Our destination was San Juan Island, where we had heard reports of orcas being spotted in that area. After traveling at speed for quite a while, we reached the American island, but saw no sign of orcas.
Not giving up so easily, we continued on our path, soon passing Stuart Island. Just as we began to enter the Swanson Straight we got good news, we had found the orcas! J pod, one of the three pods in the Southern Resident Orca population greeted us with a series of breaches from a young calf. The pod was fairly spread out, but we had found a group of about 6 females and calves who were traveling and playing in the area. We also could spot a large male far in the distance swimming near the shoreline. The females and calves were very playful, making lots of splashes as they moved around the surface of the water.
The calves were having a good time, doing some pectoral and tail slaps on the water, and one also did a spyhop. A female called J28, but more commonly known as Polaris, as well as her calf J46, also known as Star, were both identified due to the obvious triangular notch on the trailing edge of Polaris’s dorsal fin. J pod has 27 members, and is the second largest of the Southern Resident pods. Their main diet consists of Chinook salmon, and full grown orcas can eat about 300 pounds of salmon a day! After many photos were taken it was time to turn back, as we left the playful mammals and traveled along to beautiful Victoria shoreline back towards the harbour.