Captain’s Blog

Orcas & Harbour Seals – July 12, 2015

July 12, 2015

This morning was an adventure as we set out in the fog, the water looking spooky as no land could be seen.  We cruised East, hoping to locate orcas off San Juan Island.  Our misty surroundings changed into clear and sunny conditions as the island appeared in the distance.  It was not long before we spotted black dorsal fins cutting the surface of the water!  We could easily tell we had a mature male and several females in the area.  The whales were spread out along San Juan Island, and appeared to be engaged in hunting.  Each Orca needs between 150 to 300 pounds of salmon a day, so they do need to invest a lot of time into catching their food!  After several surfacings, it appeared we were ever so lucky to be watching Nigel L-95, who was just recently seen back in our waters for the first time this season!  Nigel is 19 this year ans stays close to his sister Racer and nephew Fluke.   His best buddy is Crewser, another male in L-pod his age.  On our way back to Victoria, we stopped at Chatham and Discovery Islands to have a look at the Harbour Seals hauled out on the rocks, many with new pups cozied up to their moms!

What a glorious day it turned out to be!  The sun burst through all the fog and it was a lovely afternoon on the water!  Aboard the Orca Spirit our guests were whisked over to the west side of San Juan Island where we spotted both J and K pod resident Orcas!  Our favourite sighting was of Blackberry J-27, who we pick out easily by the crisp, black hook-like swirl in his saddle-patch on his left side.  Blackberry turns 24 this year, so he is a mature male and capable of fathering offspring.  The residents were chatting to each other as we dropped the hydrophone down and heard lots of squeaks, whistles and clicks.  Many other whales passed by in small groups as they fished in teams.  We saw females, males and babies in the mix!  This year’s greatest news is the addition of three new orca calves, three of which were in the waters this afternoon!  With so much activity, it was hard to leave these beautiful animals that are such a huge part of the identity of the West Coast!

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