After all three Southern Resident pods entered the area on 7/8/13, all of J pod and K pod, and a few L pod members were still around on 7/11/13. Aboard San Juan Island Whale & Wildlife Tours we caught up with a mix of J's, K's and L's as they foraged on the West Side of San Juan Island. The first orca I identified was a sprouter male named Lobo K26, who I hadn't seen since 7/6/11, though he had been around many times since then.
Nearby I could see Lobo's mother Lea K14 with her offspring Yoda K36, and Kelp K42. Yoda took off after a salmon at one point, and as she swam top speed close to the surface of the water with her dorsal fin exposed, she created a rooster tail and a big wake!
Later in the day, I tagged along with the Odyssey of San Juan Excursions and was able to see other J, and K pod members. There was lots of cartwheeling from Opus K16, Sonata K35, Yoda K36, and other orcas, as well as a few spy hops and a breach from Sonata, who is starting to sprout!!
It was so great to see J and K pod after their long absence.
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.