Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
September 16, 2011
This lovely Friday afternoon our whale watching trip took us east, off San Juan Island, WA. The reports from the whale watching community told us that superpod was here today! Superpod means that all three pods that make-up the Southern Resident Orca Community are in the same area, at the same time. As you may guess this is a rare occasion, only happening about a dozen times in an entire season. Even thought there were 89 whales in the area, they were spread out over a great distance. We stopped in an area where we could watch 3 fantastic whales. We had L-92 or Cruiser, L-54 or Ino, and her calf L-117, who has been given the nickname Spooky. The whales are named by the Center for Whale Research or the Whale Museum on San Juan Island. Four calves have recently been given names by votes from the public. You can check the babies out and learn more about them at www.whale-museum.org.
Cruiser is one the young, but mature males in L-pod. He does not have many family members still alive. He stays close to his Grandmother named Baba (L-26), and his Auntie Ballena (L-90). The bond between family members in orcas is very strong, evident by the fact that the offspring never leave their pod or their mothers for the extent of their lives. Ino was born in 1976, and Spooky is her third calf born in 2011! New calves are always exciting to see, as the population is endangered, so every new baby holds promise for a healthy future for the population. The whales were hungry today, they were in hunting mode, looking to fill their tummies with nutritious salmon! Adult orcas need 200-300 pounds of food a day. Spooky will nurse from his/her (we don't know the sex yet) for 18 months, but will start to eat fish as well at about six months old. We all enjoyed the time we had with the whales, listening to them breathe and chat to each other, which we could hear over the hydrophone. Calm waters brought us back to Victoria, as we all looked at the pictures of the orcas our guests just took. A fine afternoon was had by all on the Pacific Explorer on the waters of Haro Strait.