J, K, and L pod Orcas on Both Trips!

Afternoon Trip Highlights:
*Members of J, K, and L pods
*Fantastic action, and interactions between L89, K33, and K37!
*Lots of bald eagles (two nests), and two tufted puffins
*Harbor seals, and harbor porpoise, black-tailed deer
*Rhinoceros auklets, common murres, pigeon guillemots, and a variety of gulls and cormorants

Our afternoon trip took us to the west side of San Juan Island between Eagle Point and False Bay.  We stopped along the way to look at a pair of tufted puffins at Iceberg Point, and we found a great variety of wildlife on this afternoon trip.  We saw members of all three pods on this run including L22, spirit, L89, Solstice, K22, Tika, K22 Sekiu, K20, Spock, K38, Comet, K27 Deadhead, K44 Ripple, K12, Sequim, J16, Slick, J50, J36, Alki, J52, and J42, Echo, and others!  The unequivocal highlight of this trip was when a trio of male orcas got together to put on an amazing show for us.  K37, Rainshadow (a 12 year old), K33, Tika (a 14 year old), and L89, Solstice (a 22 year old) swam over toward us and started to roll around, splash around, and follow each other around in circles, over and over again.  We saw some tailslaps, and a few lunges out of the water, but we could also see much of the action just under the water because it was so calm!  We had the engines turned off and these three orcas put on an intimate show of behavior that we can only take wild guesses as to what it must have meant to all of them.  It looked like some pretty hard core bonding with the orca dudes though!  Whatever it was, and whatever it meant, it didn’t matter, because it just left most of us speechless, and so grateful to be able to witness something so unique!  Naturalist Bart Rulon

Morning Trip Highlights:
*Members of J, K, and L pods, including the new calves J50, and J52
*A bait ball full of feasting dogfish (sharks)
*Lots of bald eagles
*Harbor seals and a few pups, and harbor porpoise
*Rhinoceros auklets, common murres, pigeon guillemots, and a variety of gulls and cormorants

Our morning trip started out with bald eagle sightings at Burrows Island and Castle Island, and then we found a harbor seal mom and pup hauled out on the rocks on Blind Island!  We eased up to a bait ball feeding frenzy and got some great views of about 20 or more spiny dogfish (sharks) feasting on a big school of herring at the south end of Lopez Island!  At Eagle Point We had members of K, and L pods mingling around right next to the rocks.  We spotted L89, Solstice first and later saw his mom L22, Spirit, K33, Tika, K22, Sekiu, K37, Rainshadow and others.  This group ended up putting on a pretty nice breach show, especially with upside-down breaches!!  We even saw a couple of spyhops too!  After watching this mixed group for quite a while Capt. Shane decided to head out toward Canada to take a look at some J-pod orcas that were swimming in from the west.  That plan paid off big time when we arrived.  It was the J16 subpod, including J16, Slick, J50, J36, Alki, J52, J26, Mike and J42, Echo.  These orcas were grouped up into a tight resting mode.  Eventually we had the engines turned off while waiting for them to surface after a longer dive, and they surfaced right next to us!  We got some of the most intimate views of the new calves J50, and J52 of the whole year on this pass!  They just lazily went up and down as if they didn’t have a care in the world and we were so lucky to witness it!  After that fantastic look at the J16s one of them did a spyhop and we headed back east to take one last look at the first group of orcas we visited earlier for one last time.  What a fantastic day full of trips! Naturalist Bart Rulon

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