Watching the sun set with our guests from the Star Princess (Princess Cruises). http://t.co/HOSPXt2VCT
September 27, 2011
As a light rain came down this morning, we climbed onto the Orca Spirit for another adventure in the Salish Sea. Luckily, once out of the harbour, the sun peeked out of the clouds and warmed us up as we set out East past Trial Island and Discovery Island. We were headed once again for San Juan Island which is part of Washington State. We had heard that L pod had come back into the area after being out of our reach, and the L's love to hang around San Juan. As we reached the large island, we stopped for a scan near False Bay in hopes of seeing the black triangles that rise so gracefully out of the water, but we saw nothing. We kept going along the coast until we reached Salmon Bank and not long after we showed up, our captain Brad spotted the orca not far from where we were! At first we spotted a female and then a male and female which seemed to be playing with each other. We weren't sure exactly which pod we were looking at, but after only a few minutes we realized that it was superpod! Superpod is when all 3 of our resident orca pods get together, which means up to 88 whales in total! The whales were playfully waving their tails and rolling on their backs so we dropped the hydrophone into the water. Right away we heard playful whistles and chirps which continued for most of the time we were viewing them. At one point a group of 3 whales came past the boat and we were able to catch some really great glimpses of the saddle patches! Each orca has a saddle patch which is located right behind their dorsal fin which is unique to every whale. We can identify the whales by comparing the different shapes and shades of each of the saddle patches and put a name to each of the whales! After the group of 3 passed by, a group of 8 passed by too and we were able to identify Spieden (J-8) by her very bright white patch and also by the little nick she has in the base of her dorsal fin! After the group of 8 had passed by they began rolling around with each other. A male turned upside down right at the surface showing off one of his pectoral fins and flapping his tail. But unfortunately, as with all of our trips, we had to say goodbye to the orca. We were close by to Whale Rocks where we big Stellar Sea lions like to rest. There were a few on the rocks, but many were playing in the water! Some were even wrestling with each other! We saw a behaviour called "sharking" which is when a sea lion is underwater but puts its front flipper out of the water which ends up looking very similar to a shark fin! We also saw a couple of Harbour seals minding their own business on a separate rock.
As we traveled back to Victoria, the sun continued to shine and we added another great trip to the log!