We left the harbor without any orca reports. For about 20 minutes we wondered whether or not we would see our black and white friends today. As we neared Spieden Island, Captain Craig started to receive reports of whales on the west side of San Juan heading north. Surprise! This is my first season with San Juan Safaris, and I am almost convinced that I’m the lucky charm. Either that, or it’s the fact that the Fraser River is experiencing one of its biggest salmon runs in almost a century. Whichever is the case, I can’t say I was too surprised when I heard the good news.
We passed Henry Island and started to see whales spread out around the north end of San Juan. J1 “Ruffles” was traveling close to shore with a few other members of the Jpod. We identified J16 “Slick” and J30 “Riptide”. Riptide is a “sprouter” male born in 1995. “Sprouter” is the term we use for juvenile males as they mature and their dorsal fin becomes taller and pointier. Riptide’s handsome dorsal fin appears to be getter larger every time I see him.
After leaving the whales, we traveled along the south slope of Spieden Island. We saw a Steller’s sea lion in the water and Fallow Deer and Mouflon Sheep roaming the grassy hillside. With the sun shining, our guests had many great wildlife photo opportunities. It will definitely be a great day to remember.