What an incredible afternoon with K Pod! The Seahawk left Roche Harbor with positive reports of our Southern Resident killer whales. On our way to the whales we headed north out of Roche Harbor towards Battleship Island. As we rounded the north side of Henry Island we got some awesome views of both the amazing diving cormorants (medium-sized black birds with long necks , who nest on the cliffs at Kellett Bluff) as well as some beautiful bald eagles in our area. Bald Eagles can stand three feet tall and possess a six foot wingspan, and we got awesome views of each of those features as they sat at the tops of trees right on the water and flew directly over the vessel. As we continued down the west side of San Juan Island through smooth water, we encountered the entirety of K Pod! We have three Resident pods, identified by the letters J, K & L. Within each of these pods we have matrilineal groups that stay together for life. In K Pod there are three matrilines led by the amazing ladies K13 Skagit, K12 Sequim, and K14 Lea. It was a treat today to see these three strong females out in front of their families leading the way as 18+ whales worked their way North. What I found particularly interesting is that behind each of these matriarchs traveled their oldest daughters. K13 was trailed by the her daughter K20 Spock, K12 by her daughter K22 Sikieu, and K14 by her daughter K36 Yoda. It was so cool to see the whales' social organization in action... females passing information on to their daughters and right down the matriline. In addition to the great looks at the females we had this afternoon, we also had awesome looks at the males in K Pod: K25 Scoter, K26 Lobo & K33 Tika. Notably I did not have a positive ID on K21 Cappuccino, but that is not unusual, as he is the last of his matriline (no remaining close relatives) and often travels with other pods at this time of year! Overall, it was another amazing day on board the M/V Seahawk.
Naturalist Sarah, M/V Seahawk, San Juan Oiutfitters