March 26- Jones Island J-Pod

© Five Star Whale Watching/ Katie Smith. Image —- A male orca seen today with his family in the Gulf Islands of Washington State; here he is seen tail-slapping while lying on his back with pectoral fins visible.

The sights on the water today were incredible! We were fortunate to encounter some very special animals out on the water amongst some beautiful Gulf Island scenery.

We headed east on this tour, towards the Gulf Islands in Washington State. We ended up between San Juan Island and Orcas Island. It was here we encountered whales, specifically orcas! These orcas were of the fish-eating ecotype, as opposed to the mammal-eating ecotype. They feed almost entirely on Chinook salmon. These whales are sadly currently endangered due to lack of Chinook salmon in the Salish Sea and surrounding areas.

The whales were members of J-pod, one of three large, extended families that make up the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW’s). They were quite energetic today, and were displaying some exciting behaviours! The animals were surface active with lots of tail-slapping and we even had some glimpses of one male’s large pectoral fins.

The large male present in the group, known as “Mike”, was seen lying on his back and slapping his massive tail flukes back onto the surface of the water (see above image). Male orcas are larger than females, seen with several features such as their pectoral and dorsal fins and their body size.

We were able to witness the grace, beauty and incredible size of these animals as they surfaced and splashed. It was truly a remarkable experience to show our guests this active orca family.

All of us on board enjoyed this special encounter with the scenic backdrop of some Gulf Islands. It was a very thrilling and beautiful day; we headed back west to Victoria for home.

To view more images from today’s trip, click on the link below:

March 26th- J pod at Jones Island


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