* We find J and K pod orcas in Bellingham Channel within 20 minutes of leaving the dock!
*A bald eagle, a tufted puffin, harbor seals, and harbor porpoise
We got a call from a fisherman this morning who spotted some orcas swimming south at the top of Bellingham Channel and we were in just the right spot to swing up and look for them right away. It didn’t take too long before we saw exhalation blows within minutes of getting the call! We had orcas in our backyard! It was a mix of J and K pod orcas swimming together in a tight resting pattern. We saw J2, Granny, swimming with the J14 subpod, and the K14 subpod in this group. We also had J19, Shachi, J41, Eclipse, and her new calf J51 swimming in there own tight-knit group about 400 yards away. These orcas swam southward toward Rosario Strait. Along the way we saw a few spyhops, a breach, and a few tailslaps! After watching the big group for a while we stalled a bit to watch the J19 subpod since they were angling our way. We got some great views of J51, and Eclipse did a nice spyhop for us too! As the orcas reached Burrows Island K26, Lobo, did a big breach and the rest of the orcas followed that by waking up and spreading out to do some fishing. Eventually we decided to peel off for a while to look at some other local wildlife knowing we would visit the orcas again after a while. We cruised into the south end of Lopez Island to check out some harbor seals, pigeon guillemots, rhinoceros auklets, common murres, and eventually we found a very cooperative tufted puffin!! Next it was time to take another look at our orcas again. They were beginning to group up again as they headed west, and we even spotted a couple of nice breaches right before we said goodbye. On the way home we swung by Deception Pass to take a good look at the iconic bridge! Naturalist Bart Rulon
*J and K pod orcas reunite near at False Bay!
We knew the orcas we saw in the morning were milling around off False Bay and another big mixed group of J and K pod orcas was swimming in from the west to join them. We didn’t stop for anything along the way in hopes that we would catch the two groups meeting up. The timing was perfect because the meeting of the orcas happened right as we arrived off False Bay! The orcas coming in from the west went straight into fishing mode. They all spread out in small groups to chase down some fish! We Spotted lots of Orcas from the K13 subpod on this trip, including K25, Scoter, K20, Spock, K38, Comet, K27, Deadhead, K34,Cali, and K44 Ripple! We also spotted many of the same orcas we saw on our morning trip too, including K26, Lobo! L87, Onyx appeared to be reunited with everyone again after having spent some time by himself yesterday. The highlight of this trip happened when Spock and Comet grouped up with some fellow K-pod orcas and a few others I could not identify. This group started to roll around with each other in a tight ball right at the surface. Around and around they went with heads coming out of the water, bellies up at times, and tailflukes thrashing around. It looked like a pretty cool bonding event with this small group! At the end of our visit with the orcas we spotted J27, Blackberry swimming off by himself with the Cattle Point Lighthouse as a nice backdrop! Naturalist Bart Rulon