It was a beautiful, calm day…the kind of day you just want to drive all the way to Vancouver…but it was worth it.
We heard tale of transients past East Point headed toward the coal docks. We decided to make an attempt.
By the time we made it to the coal docks there was no turning back, eventhough the whales we still headed NW at a steady clip of 7-10 knots. Finally another boat came into view. Then we saw huge splashes. Finally we caught up to the pod, almost. They were cruising at about 10 knots. At first we could see what looked to be 5 or 6 dorsal fins. Then, after a few good surfacings, the rest of the pod came into view. There were at least 10 whales swimming side by side and another 2 or 3 about 700 yards west of the main pod. We watched for about 20 minutes as the pods split and then fused again and again. There were at least two juveniles in the pod (one may have been more of a calf size). The whales altered their course very little in the time we saw them. They were cruising at the surface, taking big breaths. We shut down the engines so we could listen to the exhalations. It was so calm and there was so little wind that we could hear them even from more than a couple hundred yards away.
Finally, after our epic journey north, we were forced to turn back toward the harbor. It was an amazing day that no one on board will soon forget.
Naturalist, San Juan Safaris