Guests were excited to search for killer whales as we departed Roche Harbor on the Sea Hawk. We had received reports of resident killer whales at Hannah Heights along the west side of San Juan Island. As we moved towards the whales, they also travelled south and spent most of their time at cattle point, the southernmost tip of the island. Guests were fortunate enough to see J-Pod, the beloved resident pod! The Sea Hawk stopped at the beginning of the pod and allowed it to travel by slowly - allowing guests to get looks at Granny! Granny is the oldest killer whale at 105years old this year! In addition, we had the opportunity to see Mike, one of the largest males, breach out of the water. A breach requires the full body to come out of the water, aka 12000 pounds for a killer whale the size of Mike! After observing the killer whales for over an hour we began our journey home. On our way back not only did we see harbor seals and other interesting organisms that lead to the diversity of the Salish Sea but we also heard an interesting report. A member of J-Pod had been spotted with a dolphin in its mouth, more realistically it was a harbor porpoise. Since resident killer whales only eat salmon it raises an interesting question about what could cause this - there is scientific speciation that residents practice hunting salmon on harbor porpoises because they are similar in size at around 200 pounds.
Overall it was an extremely interesting and enjoyable trip. We spent most of observation time with the boat off, just getting the least invasive looks at killer whales as possible. It was a truly amazing day.