Captain’s Blog

Orcas: LPod, JPod and Calves – July 5, 2015

July 5, 2015

On a beautiful morning we headed though Juan de Fuca Strait and into Haro Strait, where we caught up with members of the J-16 matriline from J-Pod!  It was so exciting because this family has not one but two of the new calves in the population!  It was not hard to spot 43 year old Mom, Slick (J-16) and her spunky newest addition, J-50.  J-50 was born in late December was had no shortage of energy this morning!  She filled our morning with repeated spyhops, tail slapping, rolling, and breaching!  Who put sugar in the water?!  We could also see first time Mom and daughter of Slick, Alki (J-36), who gave birth to tiny J-52 in late March.  Mike (J-26) was cruisng the shoreline as he looked for food and watched his new little sister and new niece or nephew keep his Mom and sister busy with all their playing.  It was an amazing morning spent off Stuart Island with the baby orcas that were beyond playful!

This afternoon took us to a completely different spot than this morning, a testament to the ever changing movements of whales in our area!  We head southwest of San Juan Island where we were delighted to spot members of the L-12 matriline along with their adopted family member and pod-mate, Mystery (L-85).  We are sure their pseudo-grandmother, Ocean Sun (L-25) was in the mix as well, as Ocena Sun tends to travel close to the L-12 family.  Just like little J-50 this morning, new baby L-121 was super frisky and playful our whole visit!  This little one was born in February to Calypso (L-94).  He or she has a six year old sister named Cousteau (L-113), who we seen trailing behind her Mom and the new calf.  L-121 was breaching, spyhopping, rolling, and slapping its tail over and over!  We also had one of the females in the family float at the surface with her belly up and pectoral fins extended into the air.  We changed course to watch Calypso’s older brother and oldest male in the Southern Resident population, Mega (L-41).  As we watched Mega powerfully yet gracefully surface as he chase salmon, we were taken by surprise when a submarine surfaced in the middle of the whale watching boats and the whales.  It is not everyday that a submarine surfaces this close to civilian boats!  Mega parallelled us before he breached and swam right across the front the the submarine’s path!  It was a heart pounding moment for everyone!  After a fantastic visit with these Endangered Orcas, we headed back to Victoria in the orange glow of the skies due to smoke from forest fires, which made for an interesting light indeed!

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