With two full boats, we headed up north across the border and into Canadian waters, all in search of the Southern Resident Killer Whales that had been out to sea (to the best of our knowledge) for a few days. We ended up in the Strait of Georgia, just south of the city of Vancouver, when a passenger tapped me on the shoulder and said, “look, there!” And there they were! Orcas spanning over a quarter of a mile were lined up in smaller groups and heading north. As we paralleled them for a while, we were able to identify J-27, “Blackberry,” as one of the more recently-matured whales of the community. He had a juvenile–possibly his little brother “Mako”–and two females and/or larger juveniles. The orcas engaged in just about every surface behavior they have in their repertoire, from tail slapping to spy hopping to even breaching, it was all there! After our long journey north, we eventually did have to depart and head back to Friday Harbor but along the way we got a glimpse of some napping harbor seals and some porpoising harbor porpoises (yes, a verb AND a noun!). Welcome back, resident orcas!
San Juan Safaris