Saturday, July 16, 2016
Of all days to leave the camera behind...
I had a good whale report before we left the dock today. Not too far away, and most of J-Pod. The weather was decent: the gray sky was clearing, very little breeze, and the sea conditions were near calm.
When I got to where the whales were reported, it was clear to see that they were spread out. And, by "spread out," they were scattered all over Haro Strait for miles. There were at least 30 whale watch boats out there, but instead of "a conga line," it was like each boat got their own group of whales! We started out viewing Granny (the oldest known living Orca, at 105 years estimated) and Onyx (Granny's adopted son... maybe grandson), a large male.
Granny still kicks it - she is "the leader of the pack." Onyx is almost always with Granny - it is interesting to see the difference in size and dorsal fins between the males and females. And, it is always a treat to see Granny!
Looking around, I saw another group of 3 that didn't have a boat watching them. We moved on. Then, again. The animals were mostly foraging, so it was nice to stay in one place with the engine off. As we watched the last group move on, another group with a large male (Solstice) came to visit. Close up and personal. ("Mugged" is the term we use.) Several times. Every time I would move away, they would come closer. Our guests got some incredible views!
There were humpback whales reported south of us... decision time: stay with the Orcas, or head south with the possibility of a "trifecta." A lot of the boats went to check out the humpbacks, I stayed with the Orcas. The last half hour with the Orcas, we got our best views, including the thing everyone wants to see: breaches.
On the way back to Friday Harbor, I got another report: transient Killer Whales just south of Friday Harbor... well, that will be a nice way to finish off the trip. We stopped for a few minutes to see the transients, then back to Friday Harbor.
Nice day. Amazing whale viewing. It is starting to feel like summer. Finally.