Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
37 Days of whale sightings and counting!
What a phenomenal week on the Salish Sea! Both J-Pod and L-Pod Resident Orcas have been giving our passengers and crew spectacular shows as we spent most of the week near San Juan Island. Blackberry (J-27) has definitely been the star of the show this week, making appearances on almost every trip. The young calves were also a huge highlight this week, and have been very playful. It is always a favourite moment for the crew to see the small calves breach and spy-hop along side mom.
When the whales are not playing and foraging, we sometimes get to see them resting and sleeping. Whales and dolphins have a unique way of resting or sleeping. Because all cetaceans are air-breathing mammals, they cannot completely go to sleep or they would drown. To deal with this dilemma, whales and dolphins shut down one hemisphere of their brain, while the other half remains alert to control breathing, movement and scan for danger. The brain hemispheres alternate resting states until the whale or dolphin is ready to wake up. Whales and dolphins that live in pods or schools, like our Resident Orcas, typically all rest at the same time. Resting or sleeping behaviour lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours in most species.
Do you know, Resident Orcas are a genetically segregated ecotype of killer whale species. There are two populations of resident orca in the Pacific Northwest, the Northern and Southern Residents. They live in large family groups called pods. Each pod consists of multiple related matrilines, each matriline is made up of female, her offspring, and subsequent offspring. Resident orcas are the only known group of animals in the world where both female and male offspring remain with their mothers for life. Fathers are from a different pod, thus there is no direct parental care by them. Males do help raise offspring in their own pod however, as ensuring the survival of relatives also acts to pass their own genetics.
Our passenger of the week, Andrea with her family Abbi and Jonathan, joined us as part of their Alaskan Cruise line. They were extremely excited to see Orcas for the first time and learned a lot about these amazing animals on their trip. Jonathan’s favourite moment was the whales pop up out of the water and he didn’t mind when his jacket got a little wet! We wish the Kelly family safe travels back to their home in Maryland and are thrilled they were able to spend a part of their holiday with us!