On the morning of 7/12/13, the L22's, J and K pod began to head offshore of San Juan Island and looked like they were heading out for the open ocean. The "Odyssey", a San Juan Excursions whale watching boat, caught up with Group B of J pod as the orcas headed South West towards Dungeness Spit. They seemed pretty active mood they traveled. Group B was split into two groups, we watched Oreo J22 and her family with Blackberry J27 and his family, and then moved onto Princess Angeline J17's matriline.
When we were hanging with Princess Angeline's family, her son Moby J44 and his cousins Star J46 and Notch were all playing together. Princess Anegline's daughter Polaris J28, born in 1993, was overseeing their playtime and was doing a bit of baby sitting.
About this time all four orcas went on a deep dive, and I believe that they caught a salmon and Polaris let the kids play with it.
Later on in the evening, all the orcas turned around and headed back to San Juan Island, but during the night they exited the area through the Strait of Juan De Fuca for the open ocean. The only Southern Resident members left around the island now were the three L22's again. This is the third time this summer that the L22's have been the only Resident orcas in the area. Wherever J, K, and the rest of L pod are now, I hope they are getting enough Chinook salmon to eat. . .
Melisa Pinnow grew up on San Juan Island in Washington State. She recently graduated from Evergreen State College with a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and ornithology. She is a certified marine naturalist for San Juan Excursions and also works at the Center for Whale Research. It is her hope that sharing her orca encounters will inspire others to love and protect these magnificent creatures for generations to come.