Yesterday Captain Brian and myself took a great group of people on a pretty long and spectacular ride to see some whales. We went north to check out a small group of the Southern Resident Orcas that were swimming towards the Strait of Georgia through the Gulf Islands in Canada. TO begin with this area is super beautiful. The islands here have a different geological history than the San Juan Islands not too far south and as a consequence the channels crisscrossing in between the islands can be quite skinny with tall, sandstone cliffs reaching towards the skies. We caught up with them in about 40 minutes just as they were entering one of these passes, called Active Pass. I had never seen the residents here but the stories about how they act when entering and exiting the pass are locally legendary. The miss-matched group of J2’s, Onyx (L87), and for some reason Lobo (K26) started off by just riding a current that pulled them into the south side of the pass. T’ilem I’nges (J49) the youngest of the group just floated on his back towards the mouth of the pass as his family members goofily pushed him along. They crisscrossed this narrow pass a few times catching the best currents as the tide moved a lot of water through the narrow passageway and around two right angles. None of this prepared us for the exit though. As we faced some awesome waves at the entrance to the Strait of Georgia, this group of orcas started jumping all over the place. There were breaches everywhere and cartwheels (where they just swing their tails to the side) and spyhopping as they floated into the windy strait. They were probably having fun and probably signaling to the rest of J pod s few miles south that they were there and eventually they met up later that evening. We though headed back south and stopped to see some Bald Eagles and some Harbor Seals before getting back home to Friday Harbor! What another San Juanderful day! Until next time!


Naturalist Erick

M/V Kestrel

San Juan Safaris