August 3, 2011

Killer whales and breaching salmon

It was an absolutely gorgeous warm, sunny day; perfect for wildlife viewing. With the weather on our side, we headed north into Canadian waters to find the killer whales. As we saw the first dorsal fin slice out of the water, two harbor seals came up right next to our boat, followed by a couple harbor porpoises. Distracted, we lost sight of the orca until three of them came up on us, about one hundred yards away! It was K pod; we were able to identify Cappuccino.

We watched them slowly move near shore and meet up with other whales. As we were watching the whales, salmon began to jump out of the water. They were breaching! Then, just before we needed to turn around to head back, the killer whales started proposing out of the water, creating large splashes.

On the way back to Friday Harbor, we stopped by Speiden Island because there were a lot of harbor seals hauled out on exposed rocks. We were even able to see a small pup suckling, which was an amazing site. There was also a bald eagle, perched in all its glory on the top of a tree, and as we rounded Speiden, there was a herd of Mouflon sheep grazing that included one large buck. Overall, we couldn’t have asked for a better trip.

Kristen, Naturalist, San Jan Safaris