Thursday, September 1, 2016

All I really need to know, I learned...

... in kindergarten - remember that from 1986?

Researchers tell us that "Orcas may be the second most intelligent mammals on Earth"... the more time I spend around Orcas and people, the more I think the Orcas may need to be moved up a notch.

I will submit: All I Really Need to Know, I Learned from Orcas...

* Family is important!  These animals stay together as family units.

* Work together for a common goal.  They, hunt, travel, and rest together, understanding that they can accomplish more when working together.

* Share.  When they make a kill, they share with all members of the pod.

* Listen to your Momma.  They are a matriachal society.  There is order.

* Be aware of your surroundings.  Of course, it helps to have echo-locating capabilities, but you don't see Orcas with their faces in phones as they move about.

* Communicate.  Be vocal when necessary, and listen.  See that "echo-locating" above.  Even harbor seals can tell the difference in the vocalizations between the residents and the transient Orcas.

* Allow time for leisure.  It is just as important to unwind as it is to get your work done.  Ever seen an Orca breach?  I call that their "happy dance."

* Travel.  It expands your horizons; not just in the geographic sense, but in your worldliness.  These magnificent animals can, and do, travel 70 to 100 miles per day.  The Southern Resident Killer Whales may be considered "residents," but they are not just in one place.

* Get some rest.  The Orcas are able to put half their brain to sleep, while they continue to move and surface to breathe with the other half of their brain.  Even in the continual search for food, they take time to group together and rest.

* Get exercise.  They are always on the move.  Their lifespans are similar to ours, but Granny (J-2) is estimated to be 105 years old, and she gets along just fine.

* Teach your children well.  Yeah, a line from the CSN&Y song, but much of the behavior we see with the Orcas is learned.  It is a treat to see a young Orca learn a new skill, like tail-slapping or breaching, then practice it over and over.

* Have a party once in a while.  Super-Pod.  Seeing a greeting ceremony and the joy and activity when the pods come together is such a treat.

I'm sure you can come up with more.


We are about to wrap up our 5th season here.  Some Orca memories that stick in my mind...

Seeing a new-born Orca calf being lifted to the surface by aunts.

Super Pod.  I mentioned this in the post above, but it is a marvel to see.

Orcas in the fog - getting to find/see Orcas when the visibility is low... pretty close to spiritual.

This season, as we finished an ashes scattering ceremony for a family, and as we were pulling away from that site, the Orcas came around the point of the island we were near.  Still gives me goose-bumps to write about it.

Getting guests to the Orcas: the come with the expectation of seeing these animals, but leave with a much better understanding.

The absolute power of the Orcas: getting 20,000 pounds of huge male Orca out of the water with a breach.  Seeing the hunt with the transient Orcas.  They are apex predators - at the top of their food chain.

The breath sounds.  I truly enjoy being able to turn of the boat engine to hear, as well as see, the Orcas.

Orcas at sunset...

Orcas any time.


Hudson River Boater said...

Great Post Capt'n-- Thank you for sharing..

Captain Jim and the Blonde said...

Thanks for the kind words, HRB.