J16 Slick and J50 Scarlet

Calf surfaces just behind mother. This is often called eschelon swimming, when the baby is just being pulled in adults slip stream.

The M/V Seahawk had quite the adventure. Captain Gabe and I left the dock with no reports of orca whales, but literally two minutes off the dock… WHALES REPORTED ON THE RADIO! Our guests were all in a tizzy, as these reported individuals were some of our Resident, salmon-eating killer whales. This time of year is best to come see our Residents, as the salmon should be the most plentiful. This year we are seeing fewer salmon in our waters, so fewer of our Resident whales. When J, K, and L pods are not here they are usually spend their time off the coasts of Washington and Oregon, hunting Chinook salmon that travel and hang out 15-20 miles off shore.

We had the distinct pleasure of spending time with members of K and J pods as they rocketed south along the west side of San Juan Island. The whales porpoised along, hauling their massive bodies gracefully out of the water, stopping only to find fish. We were delighted to see all of the members of K pod, highlighted by K20 “Spock” and her son K38 “Comet.” This female-son combo were slaying salmon left and right, acrobatically at times!

Lead Naturalist Sarah, M/V Seahawk, San Juan Outfitters