Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Here are pictures by Ron Bates, MMRG, from todays encounters with Jpod Resident Orcas and Minke Whales. Jpod was first encountered near Lime Kiln and hung around the west side of San Juan Island all day. At least 3 Minke Whales were also sighted near Hein Bank today feeding on the abundant food such as Sand Lance.
It was another great day on the water and a wonderful end to Orca Month!
Five Star Whale Watching would like to Congratulate to Clipper Navigation on celebrating their 23rd anniversary! We hope you have many more years of safe and successful crossings between Seattle and Victoria.
What a wonderful day to be on the Salish Sea with calm seas, blue skies and lots of wildlife, including the Southern Resident Orcas and a number of Minke Whales.
Please enjoy the pictures above taken by Ron Bates, MMRG.
Monday, June 29, 2009
This morning we headed East towards San Juan Island after Ron Bates, MMRG, received reports that Jpod, along with a number of Lpod Orcas, had been sighted near Andrew's Bay heading North. As we arrived on scene near Spieden Island we could see the Orcas were spread out of a large area. The Orcas were moving quite fast towards Turn Point and we could also see signs of fishing. However, three Lpod Orcas were lagging behind Jpod and we sat watching these three Orcas L2, L78 and L88, which is a Matriarcal line, L2 being the mother and Matriarc.
In the afternoon we again found the L2 Matriarc group near Spieden Island and we watched them moving south towards Lime Kiln lighthouse. After watching the Orcas for a while we decided to head south along the west side of San Juan Island to see if we could see any other wildlife and we were not to be disappointed! First we came across a number of Dall's Porpoise not far from Lime Kiln lightouse and a couple of these robust and speedy Cetaceans briefly rode our bow wave. We then travelled to Hein Bank were we could see thousands of marine birds including Rhinoceros Auklets and several speciaes of Seagulls including Heermanns Gulls. As we wached these birds form a number of large and shifting bait balls we suddenly saw not one but up to 4 Minke Whales surface and lunge feed on the bait balls, it was an incredible sight!
As we were sat still with our engines off suddenly one Minke Whale surfaced very close to the boat, just over 100 yeards away, much to the surprise of both the passengers and crew but what a pleasant surprise except for the smell! No wonder Minke's have earned the nickname "Stinky Minke":)
It was a beautiful day to be on the water yet again!
We caught up with Jpod this evening just south of Lime Kiln Whale Park and observed the pod steadily moving north. As we watched the pod we saw a number of breaches, spyhops and tailslaps. We also witnessed a number of the Orcas fishing for Salmon.
The highlight of the trip was a nice pass by J1 "Ruffles" and a number of Jpod.