With Gord at the helm, we headed out on the 12:15 tour excited to see the morning fog lifting against the Olympic Mountains. J Pod had been spotted earlier along San Juan Island, milling and foraging along the coastline. When we arrived on scene the whales were spread out travelling in a relaxed manner with a few of them taking breaks for hunting. J Pod is a resident group of orcas, meaning they eat a diet consisting only of fish – and preferably Chinook Salmon. They use ecolocation to find the juiciest fish out of the bunch and eat at least 200 lbs of fish per day! We were lucky to find J28 and her three year old daughter J46, AKA “Star”. The two were travelling slowly behind the group, seemingly hindered by Star’s playful antics. She was spyhopping, rolling and tail lobbing while her mother logged lazily at the surface. On our way back from San Juan Island, we stopped briefly at Trial Island to see the Pacific Harbour Seals and Bald Eagle. The eagle is a part of a nesting pair who have a nest on Vancouver Island, they can often be seen on a particular rock on Trial Island, resting between hunts, or maybe just escaping the kids back in the nest! The weather was fantastic, the whales were showing off and things couldn’t have gone better!
Most of the images on the blog are shot with a 400 mm & 600 mm telephoto lenses. Because of our restrictions around wildlife (100+ meters), we use powerful lenses to better share orca activity that passengers see on their trips. Keep in mind this also heavily compresses space between objects. We also crop images for best blog viewing.