Posted by: onboardtourswhales | October 26, 2016


Going through photos and thoughts of experiences over the last few months, I realize they focus on sightings of nature and free life. But it is about sharing all this with people and their reactions. Maybe in the future I should include more people in photos too! I am filled with gratitude and honor for all the fellow advocates and opportunities to continue to learn science, present on the ferries, represent at events, participate with organizations, work and volunteer by sea and by land. People come to these islands from all around the world! Just this year- from all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, Russia, England, Europe, Australia, Japan! Seeing the joy in their eyes, indelible memories, becoming aware of our positive and negative impacts, given tools and actions they can participate in, I do believe people can and will choose to live a bit more caring and respectful of all life forms.

Today there is grave concern about J28 Polaris, as she started looking emaciated in August, and her son J54 Dipper still nurses and looks smaller than normal. With the losses of 2 neonates, L-95 Nigel, and J14 Samish, this reinforces the dire straits these chinook-king salmon dependent endangered Southern Resident orca are in. Please care and attend one of these meetings, submit your comments to restore the salmon these orca so desperately need, and continue to call the White House 202-456-1111 asking President Obama to issue an Executive Order to breach-remove enough of the 4 lower Snake River dams.

Food First For Survival (Hydration also comes from their food – not from sea water)


J28 Polaris with son J54 Dipper

September 22, 2016 Wedding Reception Whales

Today, our dear fellow mariners, naturalists, sea life advocates got married on their sailboat, then continued with a reception at Lime Kiln Point State Park, aptly also known as Whale Watch Park, since the groom predicted whales would come by at 4pm, and he was right!! Our beloved Southern Resident orca came south down Haro Strait with the ebb tide and slack water. First the L54’s porpoising- speed swimming with purpose! Later some J’s and K’s through sunset. Maybe they got the invite to come by and join the celebration 🙂 I think the eagle enjoyed watching the festivities too.

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September 18, 2016 September Southern Resident Orca

It’s difficult to pinpoint what about September is so special here in the Salish Sea. Knowing the orca will be sighted less as they travel further to find their food? (diminishing salmon) The softer light, and crisp clear air of autumn? The unusual sightings of other sea life? Out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca for a sunset trip, the cloudy sun dappled sky showed the exhalations of whales! NOAA researchers were attempting to get breath samples of Southern Resident orca, from some members of all 3 pods that were in the area. The advanced technology now helps analyze health and pathology of cetaceans. Just hearing the breath and seeing the orca swim about brought grins and squeals by our passengers, no matter the few drops of rain, followed by double rainbows and dramatic sunset!

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September 14, 2016 Kpod Haro Strait

Out at Westside Land Bank property- preserved and accessible to the public, an evening from 5pm to 6:30pm to be thankful to see Kpod orca coming down Haro Strait with slack water after a flooding tide. They were spread out, foraging with tail fluke and pectoral fin lobs, and always awing breaches!

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August 8, 2016 Transients-Bigg’s Whales in San Juan Channel

Busy whales, T36, T36B’s, T38, T99’s hunting right along the west coast of Lopez Island, then mid channel and over to Griffin Bay. Lots of tail fluke slaps, spyhops, and back stroke swimming!

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August 1, 2016 Transient-Bigg’s Whales in Canada

Active whales outside of Active Pass in the Strait of Georgia! T34’s, T37, T37B’s families successfully, cooperatively together hunting Harbor porpoise, plowing by the boats!!

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July 31, 2016 Heart of Summer Sail

Sailing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on a beautiful, calm, sunny summer afternoon and evening, catching the last of a flood tide, then slack water made glass like conditions and extended visibility. Hoping orca were still in the area, a family that had been to my Baja gray whale camp many years ago, had no expectations, just happy to be out on the Salish Sea. About 6pm we saw blows off of Eagle Cove and respectfully approached, shutting down the engine. J16 Slick and her 2 year old daughter J50 Scarlet, and J28 Polaris with her kids- J46 Star and 7 month old son at the time J54 Dipper, seemed to be milling, resting, and foraging. There were some spyhops, and J50 Scarlet did some tail fluke slaps on the water. We could see other orca further out in the strait, so we put the hydrophone in the water to see if they were vocalizing. They were, interesting that some sounded like Kpod calls tho we hadn’t sighted any Kpodders! Then J50 Scarlet came right over to the boat, turned on her side and looked up at each of us. She then mouthed the hydrophone! We could hear the muffle!! J16 Slick approached as- come over here! and J50 Scarlet rejoined her mother. The other 3 of J16 Slick’s kids and 1 grandson were there, son J26 Mike was much further out in the strait. The whales slowly meandered southeast at about 7:30pm as we sailed back with the sun setting light, and treasured nature connections.

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July 28, 2016 Patos Island

Great to go hike Patos Island, part of the marine parks and one of the most northeastern islands of the San Juans. See a different view where Boundary Pass meets the Strait of Georgia, a mighty confluence of water! Turtleback Mountain on Orcas Island, and curious birds. That looks like a whale tail cloud on Mt Baker!

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July 21, 2016 Superpod 5

A week long gathering of folks from around the world to learn and share science and action for our orca and all cetaceans, topped off at Lime Kiln Point State Park- aka Whale Watch Park. Spectacular evening filled with music, Jpod and Lpod orca!! A family of whales stayed in front of the lighthouse, in the calm flooding tide and slack waters from 6:00pm to 9:30pm. They were rolling at the surface showing pectoral fins, and doing headstands- showing tail flukes. Southern Resident orca were all over Haro Strait, I counted 10 breaches! Spyhopping, tail fluke lobing- splashing the water, hopefully feasting on salmon. The lighting was surreal with storm clouds approaching, rain, thunder, lightning, and rainbows over the Olympic Mountains, yet rays of sunset shined on our magical time and place. Did the whales feel our caring intentions, hear the music and our delight? They inspire us.

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Random Photos













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