Blog Archive for August 2010

August 29, 2010

Cross-cultural Communication

With the orcas being able to swim 30-35 mph and covering 100 miles in a day, it is easy to see how they can become "lost" from one day to the next.  And with the Salish Sea being such a large body of water, how is it that the whale watching companies ever find what they are looking for?  Since...Read more

August 29, 2010

Tag-wearing Transients

We often have people ask us about whether the orcas wear tags and if that is how we know where they are.  Since the Southern Residents are listed as an endangered species, researchers are not given permission to attach tags to them.  The same logic that discourages the use of tags is the same...Read more

August 27, 2010

The Bigger The Better!

When it comes to orca mating, researchers do not know how the pairs are established.  Mating is indiscriminate, meaning that males and females do not stay together.  Females raise the calf with their family and the males help to raise their siblings, cousins, etc.  It has even been theorized...Read more

August 25, 2010

Watch This Space

Each day as we cruise out of Friday Harbor, with hopes of seeing whales drifting about in our heads, I start the guests of with an introduction to the San Juan Islands and the all the wonders the islands offer. I often mention in this introduction that we as naturalists love questions. Not only...Read more

August 24, 2010

What have you guys been up to?

Today was an exceptional day, amazing wildlife everywhere and beautiful weather! The animals seemed to get bigger and bigger as we continued our trip. We started by observing some harbor seals warming themselves on the rocks, these animals weigh about 300lbs as adults. Our next stop was the much...Read more

August 23, 2010

L pod returns

It has been a few days since we have seen L pod (or the Southern Residents in general)  and we can only assume that means they have gone off in search of food in the Pacific, but today we were in luck!  This  afternoon reports came in that they were headed towards San Juan Island. As we headed...Read more

August 22, 2010

Minkes again!

We saw a minke whale on the west side of Waldron Island today!  Although there weren't any reports of orcas, we still managed to see a lot of marine wildlife.  We rarely see minke whales this many days in a row.  They are solitary travelers and can hold their breathe for long periods.  So when...Read more

August 21, 2010

Whale Watching

Today, we actually saw whales as opposed to the black and white dolphins known as 'orcinus orca.' Whales and dolphins are classified according to two things; their size, with porpoise being the smallest, dolphins being mid sized and whales being the largest, with the Blue Whale being the largest...Read more

August 20, 2010

Mystical Mysticetes

I know, you are probably wondering what in the world that word is and how it could possibly be pronounced.  Well, both fall under the category of easy to explain.  Mysticetes (MISS-ti-seats or MICE-ti-seats) are baleen whales that filter feed on small prey items.  Of course, all baleen whales...Read more

August 19, 2010

Singing in the Rain and Breaching in the Sun

I went out with an especially cheerful group of people who were 0ld friends with eachother. In 1992, they flew around the world in small planes, over Russia. Now they get together every year, and this year they got together in San Juan and chartered the Kittiwake. The name of their group was the...Read more

August 19, 2010

West Side Sunset

Last evening we headed towards the southern tip of San Juan where Cattle Point Lighthouse is located.  This is our last week of sunset tours and I'm really going to miss the way that lighthouse looks against a setting sun.  That thought was interrupted when we spotted Stellar Sea Lions showing...Read more

August 18, 2010

Fat Foraging Whales

It has been said by the locals that this is the largest run of Sockeye Salmon we've EVER had (at least in a lifetime). Everywhere you looked off the west side today, there were purseiners, fish jumping and orcas feeding. Fat and happy whales, they lolled about slowly, on long dives, taking their...Read more

August 16, 2010

On the prowl

What a great show we got from the transient Orcas today! It's not everyday that we get to see these whales since they visit our area less frequently than the resident Orcas. The transient orcas dine on marine mammals like the harbor seals, harbor and dalls porpoise, sea lions and minke whales....Read more

August 15, 2010

Fantasy Islands

Some days defy description.  They so far exceed one's expectations or beliefs that they become entrenched in the realm of fantasy.  I had the distinct honor of witnessing one of those days today.  As part of the crew of the M/V Sea Lion I got to assist a guest in surprising his girlfriend with a...Read more

August 14, 2010

Dreamy Orcas

This summer I really can't get orcas off my mind.  We have had whale sightings pretty much every day.  I even dream about orcas!  It must mean something when your dreams reflect reality.  Life is good.  Especially on a sunny day in the San Juans.  Today we encountered the orcas on the...Read more