AM: K-pod orcas, a tufted puffin, a bald eagle, harbor seals, rhinoceros auklets, cormorants, common murres, pigeon guillemots, and more.
PM: J and K pod orcas with a minke whale swimming among them, a harbor seal, rhinoceros auklets, cormorants, common murres, and more.
We headed over to the west side of San Juan Island to check out some orcas for our morning trip. Along the way one of our bird watching passengers spotted a tufted puffin flying by near Iceberg Point and we watched it do a couple of circles before it disappeared. We spotted our first group of orcas near Lime Kiln Park, including J-pod whales, but we decided to pass them up because there were several boats with them. We wanted to find our own whales to watch by ourselves and we pushed a little further up and found a group of 7 orcas just off Henry Island. It was the K13 subpod including K13, Skagit, K20, Spock, K38, Comet, K25, Scoter, K27, Deadhead, K44, Ripple, and K34, Cali. These 7 orcas swam close together for our entire visit with them and gave us some great viewing as they traveled northward. It was great to have them mostly to ourselves. Once a few other boats showed up it was time to say goodbye, and we headed back through the inner San Juan Islands for our return trip. We had enough time to stop for a bald eagle and a bunch of harbor seals along the way. Naturalist Bart Rulon
We headed back to the west side of San Juan Island for our second trip and found our first whale just east of Eagle Point. It was K21, Cappuccino, and he gave us some great looks as he swam eastward. Then he decided to go on a 9 minute dive so we headed over to check out J27, Blackberry, who was about a half mile away. Blackberry gave us the best show of the day as he chased a salmon near the surface. Around and around he went, in circles, slashing through the surface in hot pursuit! We hope he caught the fish after all that effort because eventually he started to swim off in our direction. We had the engines shut off and he swam right to us for a fantastic view of this impressive orca. Next we headed west to check out a few more whales. We spotted J31, Tsuchi, and J38, Cookie, and then we got a surprise when a minke whale popped up right among the orcas. That was pretty cool! Cookie swam over to us and started to chase a salmon at the surface, then his mom, Oreo, J22 swam over too. That made for a good finale to a great Father’s Day on the water. Naturalist Bart Rulon