Tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox! And even though this signals the true end to summer, this doesn’t mean that all the whales leave as all the humans have started to do. Whales actually travel through these waters all year round! Yesterday, though, still felt a little bit like summer. Captain Brian, myself and some wonderful guests took the M/V Seahawk south to search for the Southern Resident Orcas. They have been in the inland waters the past few days foraging for salmon. But that wasn’t the only exciting things we saw. ON our way there we saw a few Dall’s  Porpoise which are odd looking animals that travel in fast moving groups. Sometimes their speeds reach a point that they throw “rooster tails” as they are swimming (these are the sprays that you see off of jet skis). After them we saw a few glimpses of a Minke Whale further south. Minkes are the second smallest baleen whales in the world and you usually smell them before you see them and we definitely did with this one.

Finally we started to see a small group of orcas! It was part of L pod swimming a little bit north of Middle Bank foraging for fish and sometimes being goofy.  The group we saw was pretty unique. The first one we saw was Mega (L41) who is a very large male orca. He tail slapped a few times and spyhopped to probably check out the research drone that the Vancouver Aquarium was using to get a better look at this family. Then there was Calypso (L94) with her two children Cousteau (L113) and Windsong (L121) who is just a year and a half old! Mega is Calypso’s brother and since their mother is not alive any more he is often seen travelling with her or his other sister, Matia (L77). The last orca that was in this group was Ocean Sun (L25) the second oldest orca that we know of and the oldest in L pod. She was estimated to have been born in 1928 and is probably the mother of Lolita, the only remaining Southern Resident Orca still in captivity. It was awesome to be alone on such a calm day with this family group and watch them feed and gracefully socialize with each other. Makes me love fall even more. Well Happy fall everyone and have a San Juanderful day!

 

Naturalist Erick

M/V Seahawk

San Juan Outfitters