Awesome J-Pod!!!

May 10, 2011

Starting out north, on a nice, calm, sunny afternoon, no whale reports. Then, then! a rumor of Orcas in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, heading in east! So we turned around, headed south and west, and started seeing killer whale fins off of False Bay and San Juan Island, swimming against an ebbing tide.

We noticed a female staying in the same place at the surface for about a half hour, and the 5 family groups spread out. They started to move and gather closer together, actively spy hopping, turning on their backs, tail fluke and pectoral fin slapping the water surface, and a juvenile breached! They slowed down their swimming, made circles and direction changes. We put a hydrophone in the water and heard non stop vocalizations!

As we watched all the active behavior, we noticed a very small calf and wonder if a birth had taken place recently? My guess for the mom is J-31 Tsuchi. We also ID’d J-2 Granny, the big boys- J-27 Blackberry, J-26 Mike, J-30 Riptide, and J-28 Polaris and their families. J-Pod seemed relaxed and hopefully found salmon!

Caroline Armon, Naturalist, San Juan Excursions

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